Muslim Amazon employees demand more PAID time to pray

(The Awood Center Facebook)

group of Muslims who work for Amazon would rather pray than work, and because the multinational tech giant refuses to grant them this entitlement, the Muslims are now fighting back. How? By protesting and airing their grievances to sympathetic ears in the left-wing media.

On Dec. 14 the group of Minneapolis-based East African Muslims held a protest outside the Amazon warehouse where they work to demand longer break times.


At the moment the Muslim warehouse workers receive two 15 minute breaks and one 30 minute break per shift. According to Somali immigrant Khadra Ibrahin, these breaks are too short. Why? Because they make it impossible for her and her peers to both use the restroom and pray.

“And so most of the time we choose prayer over bathroom, and have learned to balance our bodily needs,” she said to Vox, adding that to do otherwise would affect their production rate.

Each employee must pack at least 240 boxes per hour, or 4 per minute, which is possible so long as their breaks are short, i.e., under 15 or 30 minutes. But to use the restroom and pray, Ibrahin and her coworkers would need longer break times. And that’s exactly what they want.

“Workers and the community want respect,” Abdirahman Muse of the Awood Center, which reportedly organized the protest, said to Vox. “Responding to our demands for basic fairness and dignity are things we shouldn’t have had to even push Amazon on. We don’t want charity; we want respect and a fair return on the hard work that brings Amazon their profits.”

Watch the full protest below:

Amazon workers and Somali community demanding Amazon in MN #HearOurVoice!

Posted by The Awood Center on Friday, December 14, 2018

Amazon has pushed back against the criticism, noting in a statement to Vox that, one, the three breaks currently enjoyed by its employees are paid breaks, and two, that employees may request additional non-paid break time if needed. It’s unclear why the Muslims haven’t requested these.

“[P]rayer breaks less than 20 minutes are paid, and productivity expectations are not adjusted for such breaks. Associates are welcome to request an unpaid prayer break for over 20 minutes for which productivity expectations would be adjusted,” a company spokesperson said.

He continued by noting the benefits afforded to every Amazon employee.

“Amazon offers a great employment opportunity with excellent pay – ranging here from $16.25-$20.80 an hour, and comprehensive benefits including health care, up to 20 weeks parental leave, paid education, promotional opportunities, and more.”

“[We] encourage anyone to compare our pay, benefits, and workplace to other retailers and major employers in the Shakopee community and across the country. We invite anyone to see for themselves and take a tour through our fulfillment center tour program.”

Muse was not satisfied with this answer. If anything, he responded by increasing his demands, arguing to Vox that Amazon’s Muslim employees deserve more vacation time as well:

“During Ramadan Eid, employees have the right to use PTO, unpaid time off, or vacation time if they have time available in their account. They have to use those banked time allotments for religious holidays, giving them less time than their non-Muslim co-workers to take off for when [their] kids are sick.”

Thank you everyone who came out today. What a powerful show of unity and power! Amazon knows we expect them to…

Posted by The Awood Center on Friday, December 14, 2018

Ibrahin feels similarly. She told Vox that of the 20 or so jobs she’s worked in the U.S. since immigrating to the 2004, her job at Amazon has been the worst.

According to the research firm Forrester Research, the average American holds between 12 to 15 jobs in his or her lifetime. It’s unclear why Ibrahin has worked 20 jobs in just 14 years.

The Muslim Amazon employee also complained about her employer’s purported lack of diversity.


“I am African and I do not see myself reflected in the management,” she complained. “We have a right to stand up and speak up for ourselves, and we feel they are not in solidarity to us.”

She added that until recently, nearly every manager at the warehouse was white. After she and peers complained, Amazon brought in a Muslim manager from another warehouse to take over.

Yet she’s still not happy:  “[T]here is plenty of talent [at the local warehouse], which is clearly not being recognized for managers,” she said, indicating she wanted one of her peers to be promoted.

To social media users, all these complaints by Ibrahin and her peers make them seem rather, well, whiny and entitled, among other things.




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