Monday, March 13, 2017

Meat-packer tale of two countries

The treatment of immigrants has been drawn into sharp contrast at meat-packing plants JBS U.S.A. runs in Canada and the United States.

The Canadian plant, which JBS bought from XL Foods Inc. in the midst of a food-safety crisis, has won plaudits from the federal government for hiring and treating immigrants and refugees well.

But its plant in Nebraska is tied up in court challenges over its refusal to allow Muslims prayer time.

"It is encouraging to hear about how JBS Food Canada has implemented a number of measures to ensure that newcomer employees feel welcomed, are able to work safely, and have every opportunity to successfully settle and integrate into Canadian society and their new community,” said Ahmed Hussen, the Canadian cabinet minister in charge of immigration. He gave the company and award,

 “By recruiting immigrants and offering them meaningful employment, Canadian employers like this one go above and beyond to create a welcoming environment where newcomers, their families and local communities can thrive," he said by way of a news release.

But in Nebraska, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission spent six years trying to convince a federal court that the company’s packing plant at Grand Island discriminated against Muslim workers by not accommodating their requests for prayer breaks during Ramadan.

JBS is a Brazilian company.