Thursday, October 16, 2008

New Tensions in the Meatpacking Plants

The undocumented workers picked up and deported because of ICE raids on meatpacking plants has led to replacing them with Somalis. This happened in the wake of the raid on Agriprocessors in Postville, IA. Most of the Somali workers entered the U.S. legally as political refugees. Yet they have create tensions with Hispanic and Anglo fellow workers. The difference are religious and cultural mostly -- stopping work to accommodate prayer, handling pork and celbrating holidays. The Somalis are recruited by labor brokers. This pattern to a lesser extent is found among Sudanese political refugees -- only they are Christian rather than Muslim. (See NY Times article.)

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