There’s not a lot of sympathy to be found here on the streets for more than 100 Somali workers fired Wednesday from the JBS Swift & Co. meatpacking plant.
But it is the talk of the town.
Nearly every one of about a dozen people interviewed at random in downtown on Thursday not only knew about the dispute, but had a fairly detailed knowledge of the controversy.
Several were uncomfortable with the dismissals of the immigrant workers for what residents saw as an attempt to practice their religious faith.
But most of the people who agreed to be quoted said they felt it was up to the Somalis to make adjustments to U.S. culture, not the other way around.
Some residents, however, were familiar enough with the story to know that part of the dispute centered on an agreement the workers thought they had with Swift managers to take the breaks at the end of their fasting period.
And they termed the dismissals as an excessive reaction to a group of people trying to live by their faith.
[Editor’s Note: Background to this story can be read here.]