Seattle Hertz Suspends Praying Muslim Drivers For Staying On Break Too Long

SEATTLE, Wash. (CBS Seattle) – To pray or not to pray? That is the question posed to some Somali Muslims working at Hertz, just as long as they clock out.

More than 30 Somali Muslim shuttle drivers working for Hertz at the Seattle airport were indefinitely suspended over the issue of whether they had been taking too long on their breaks without clocking out, breaks the drivers say are meant to be used as time for daily prayer.

The Seattle Times reports that Teamsters Local 117, which represents the 34 suspended drivers, filed an unfair labor-practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board, citing that the car rental hub in Seattle failed to notify the union ahead of time of the rule alteration, which was instituted Sept. 30.

There has been no set timetable as to when the matter could be resolved as the issue is under review. The drivers are paid between $9.15 and $9.95 an hour, and receive no health benefits, or any vacation or sick days.

The unilateral changes that were made by Hertz without notifying the union of the matter and attempt to settle violated the collective bargaining agreement between the two sides and endangered the financial livelihood of the Somali Muslim drivers, Teamsters Local 117 Secretary-Treasurer Tracy Thompson said.

Thompson worries that treating the employees “very harshly” under the umbrella of the new policy could result in a punishment as extreme as terminating the 34 drivers, saying that taking away the livelihoods of the Somali Muslim employees currently suspended is “almost obscene.”

“They’ve clearly made it about the religious exercise here and that’s where we have a number of problems,” Thompson told CBS Seattle. “They’ve violated the terms of the collective bargaining agreement, let alone these people’s right to exercise their religious rights during the day.”

But the issue of the Somali Muslim Hertz drivers at the Seattle airport and their break time isn’t a new one. Hertz Spokesman Richard Broome told CBS Seattle that a clock-in, clock-out requirement in a 2009 Equal Employment Opportunity Commission settlement was implemented because the company believed that the breaks were being extended by the suspended employees beyond the necessary time needed to complete their prayers.

The company is not punishing the drivers for exercising their right to pray, he said. Instead, Hertz wants to make sure those five- or 10-minute breaks don’t turn into longer ones under the guise of prayer, adding that there are a number of Muslim Hertz employees in the Seattle area who are following protocol.

“We have a number of Muslim employees in Seattle who clock in and clock out and are gainfully employed, and will remain this way,” Broome said, acknowledging that the company wants to resolve the matters as soon as possible. “At this point, employees not willing to clock in and clock out will remain suspended.”

He added: “Unfortunately, some of these prayer breaks have extended way too long and we felt like it’s important to have procedures for prayers to continue and not have the privilege be abused.”

In the 2009 EEOC settlement between Hertz and the union, the agreement cites the car rental company as respecting the legitimate break times of its employees and “will disturb an employee only in an emergency or when Hertz believes that the employee has either not punched out for break or has been on break for more than the allowed time, which currently ten minutes.”

The NLRB complaint filed by the Teamsters, though never citing specific break time-related issues, outlines how Hertz suspended its employees for engaging in “concerted protected activity.” For now, the NLRB’s regional office will investigate the complaint. If there’s merit in favor of the 34 drivers, there will be a hearing before an administrative judge. About 90 percent of the cases filed to the NLRB are resolved either before or after a legislative hearing, said Nancy Cleeland, the NLRB’s director of public affairs.

But the 34 Somali Muslims remain suspended, waiting on whether the issue that separates their job from their religion will be figured out.

Comments

One Comment

  1. Ben Doverhereitcomes says:

    Fire them and send them back.

    1. cj says:

      Give me a Break! FIRE THEM! This is America!!! Assimulate or leave. Pray at home!!!!

      1. Barry's CT. SSN FAILS 'E-VERIFY' says:

      2. ISLAM WILL DOMINATE THE WORLD says:

        I just reported you to http://www.AttackWatch.net

      3. Alba says:

        Absolutely agree. I’ll support Hertz from now on.

    2. Jason Goldtrap says:

      People get jobs today only by applying online. 90% of the time you don’t even get a rejection email you just get disheartening silence. So, was it just an amazing coincidence that 34 Somali Muslims happen to apply at Hertz, go through an extensive interview process and training to become drivers? Strange things are afoot.

      1. Marc Taylor says:

        I’m boycotting Hertz.
        NOT to support the muslim zombies driving the buses…
        But because Hertz hired them to start with!

    3. guest says:

      no wonder they are praying, they are paid around $1.00 more than minimum
      wage if they are from California, with no benefits , no vacation, no sick leave,
      no health care. you would pray too,

      1. John Sweet says:

        add to that their Union dues that got them such great working conditions.

    4. buddy says:

      fire them all. if they can’t work like everyone else here in america they should be terminated. or fired.

  2. john says:

    Maybe they should be deported back to whereever they came from.
    I’m not muslim, but if I worked for hertz, would they give me prayer breaks?
    I seriously doubt it, so why do they tolerate these bozos, when Islam is not even a true religion? It is a front for criminals to hide behind.

    1. BrownGuy says:

      John is a good christian.
      He HATES!

  3. Corey says:

    This is the same argument made about smokers on the job, and it is handled the same way, or should be. Muslims, via their religious tradition, are required to pray FIVE TIMES A DAY facing Mecca. The average prayer session is roughly 5-10 minutes, meaning that approximately 25-50 minutes of a potential work day would be interrupted by religious observance.

    There is no problem in my eyes with these individuals praying – as long as they clock out. Hertz has said the same thing, and I see no controversy here other than the fact that certain employees have refused to clock out and are henceforth suspended. Attempts by their Union to portray Hertz’s actions as anything but justifiable will go nowhere, or at least they shouldn’t. This is clearly not a case of religious intolerance, in fact, I commend Hertz for putting up with this disruption in the first place. If I was a business owner, I would be skeptical of hiring anyone, for any reason, who was “required” to take up to an hour of time during the work day to do anything other than work – unless it was their lunch break.

    1. Regulas says:

      Cult of Islam sympathizer, I bet you voted for Obozo too.

    2. rulierose says:

      you know what? Muslims are NOT “required to pray five times a day.” in a perfect world, devout MUslims would indeed do that. but most of them don’t. when I was in Marrakech we’d hear the call to prayer 5 times a day for sure…and not once did we ever see anyone stop and actually pray.

      like footbaths–which are also not “required” and aren’t seen much in the Middle East–the Muslims once again pretend to have stringent “religious” duties and everyone else had better shut up and like it. it’s ridiculous.

      give those jobs to 34 Americans who can pray on the weekends!

  4. vegasdomar says:

    Where’s that liberal tolerance toward a minority class and peaceful religion.

  5. Flabbo says:

    And you wonder why we have double digit unemployment. Now go ahead and tell there are no citizens who would take the job.

  6. ScottHB says:

    Outlaw religion. Period.

    1. TL says:

      Why dont we outlaw religious intolerance and liberalism!

  7. Sharon says:

    Why are immigrants being favored over American citizens? Deport them if they don’t like it here. What are we doing with Muslim from a terrorist country in our country?

  8. Muhammed says:

    I have not seen a group of people who require more ‘special considerations’ than Muslims. And if they don’t get what they demand he rest of us are labeled religious bigots and Islamophobes. In our eternal need to be politically correct, we cannot stand to be labelled this way.

    We need to remember that if they are trying to behead you, you are probably not an Islamophobe.

    1. HiHeels says:

      the Learning Channel has a new reality tv show coming out show casing the lives of some muslm families. De-sensitizing the population to be ok with them because they keep immigrating thousands daily as the new obama voting base

  9. LindaB says:

    muslims wishing to pray 5 times a day, should NEVER interrupt work, They need to realize that work INTERRUPTION cannot be accepted at all. THEIR LUNCH HOURs are sufficient!!!They can go home and pray FOUR more times, AT HOME!…let’s see… THAT EQUALS FIVE TIMES.

    1. krp says:

      There are certain times of the day when they are supposed to pray. Not that I like those are just the facts.

      Now really, in a supposed 9 to 5 workday, can you honestly say that you work from 9-12 non-stop and from 1-5 non-stop? No,. you take coffee breaks, you get up and stretch your legs, you go the bathroom etc. Hell, I’ve done it, I have worked on crews where we ALL took a break every 2 hours as a unit.
      So they schedule the coffee breaks at the times that they are supposed to pray, they have the morning break and the afternoon break and the lunch hour, and then before and after work. No problem.

  10. Boodrow Malone says:

    No other religion would be allowed prayer on or near the job site. They can pray all they want after or before work. No special work rules for muslims.

  11. deserttrek says:

    Somalis????? ENOUGH! Either follow the rule or leave. Why are we expected to bend over for everybody else?

    1. Tim says:

      I like my Somalis with a little bit of sour cream.

  12. Marco says:

    They should have their wages deducted proportional to the perid not worked

  13. LindaB says:

    I say FIRE them all.

  14. Tim says:

    For penance, make them draw pictures of Mohammed.

  15. Tim says:

    Make them put their forhead on a baseball bat that is perpendicular to the ground. Have them circle the bat 20 times. Then ask them to try to face Mecca to pray.

  16. HiHeels says:

    Doesn’t Seattle have a somali muslim running for congress. Congress needs a matching pair. Keith are you lonely when you time out to pray on the floor of congress. Where did so many somali people get the means to immigrate here any way. Pawlenty was going to let the state of Minnesota buy houses to sell to them interest free , sharia compliant and bending over with the ky jelly for islam..
    our country is down grading into a 3rd world pos

  17. Moshe says:

    Thanks for this article. I know now not to use hertz as they hire terrorists nor do I want to be in a car that possibly has been booby trapped. they just love pyrotechnics

  18. Tim says:

    Do you prefer your samalis with sour cream or picante sauce?

  19. LindaB says:

    Go HERTZ!!!! HIRE AMERICAN!!!! Just want to say…I HATE MUSLIMS

  20. Bill says:

    What we really need is more people from turd world, gargage can countries to come to America.

  21. michelle says:

    Comrade Obama to the rescue!!

  22. the kid says:

    just more f’n lazy moolies!!!

  23. no sharia says:

    This is a prime example of “creeeping Sharia” into our mainstream. Little by liitle they want to institute their ways into our culture until they reach Kalifa or Califate to control the world. Ask Europe how they like it now. Political correctness needs to stop NOW!

    1. incontrovertible wisdom says:

      You are a complete and utter idiot. You are NOT an American and have never been your whole life. This country needs to deport you to some third world country where you can spew your incoherent drivel all you want. Get some semblance of an education in your off time when you are not serving people fries and burgers. Until then you are nothing more than a “mouth breather” drain on society. Get a job and a life you troll.

      Sincerely,

      America

      1. no sharia says:

        Looks like from most of the other postings on this thread that it is YOU that who’s “wisdom” is not incontrovertible after all.

    2. nhk93 says:

      Absolutely correct. If we are not vigilant–that is exactly what will happen here.

  24. maadalinkilinkmaddalinkiloo says:

    Could I take an hour off for daily Mass if I worked for Hertz? Hell no.

  25. Ezra says:

    If they were conservative christian would the union be so demanding?

  26. LindaSB11 says:

    This does NOT violate their religious rights. When will people start understanding an employer can do what they see fit for their business. The religious rights under the 1st amendment is very clear. The governement can make NO laws to prohibit religious freedom. In other words the governement can NOT take your rights or make laws against them. An employer whole other story if it impedes upon their right to own a business.

  27. Enrique Sanchez says:

    Wow! what a bunch of low-life jingoist hypocrites we have here protesting for religious INTOLERANCE. I think a good number of Americans believe they are some kind of SUPERIOR BEINGS and everything in the universe belongs ONLY TO THEM. You Super-Sams better watch out – because the world is larger than the 50 states and it’s territories. Your holier-than-thou arrogance will one day backfire in your faces. I am ashamed of all of you and your closed-minded stupidities and pugnacious attitudes towards all who are not American or American born.

    1. LindaSB11 says:

      Maybe you should learn the constitution first and why the employer is legally correct in their decision.

      Oh and we are superior because I don;t see people leaving, but I see alot breaking in! Maybe you should go live in some socialist mecca and see if it’s better Mr. Sanchez from the name you may not even belong here anyway!

      1. Truth be Told says:

        You are a jcomplete oke. You know nothing of the law or the Constitution. Stop posting Troll.

    2. Jimmy Stewart says:

      So, Enrique they should be allowed to pray as long as they want? All that I’m saying is that they need to be treated just like anyone else. How is that being superior. How is that being holier than thou? This has not been an issue until mainly Muslims have started to excercise their “rights” here in America.

    3. no sharia says:

      Enrique, you obviously know very little about Islam. I suggest you do some studying. http://www.thereligionofpeace.com would be a good start. Radical Islam is not here to be friends with you unless you are converted to Islam. If you are a Christian, a jew or an athiest, you are an Infidel and need to be killed or subjugated. Islam is a totalitarian political theocracy with a bit of “religion” thrown in. There is no separation of religion and state. Americans have long held open arms to those who assimilate into our culture. Moslims are the only culture that want to overtake.

    4. blancojoe says:

      Enrique …. fifty cent words coming out of a two bit brain are of no advantage. Please, take these poor souls under your enormous wings and help them back to Somalia. You can all pray together, just before they decide to slit your throat and behead you.

    5. rulierose says:

      not quite–our “attitudes” are toward a particular sub-section of Muslims in America who have gotten the impression that they run the world and that we must comply with their wishes. we do not.

      religious intolerance has nothing to do with it. if anything, we bend over backwards to make sure the Muslims’ delicate sensibilites are not upset. I’ve never seen a people as easily offended!

      if they want to live in America they have to meet the country halfway. if the idea is to continue living as they did in Somalia, then may I respectfully suggest they go back there?

  28. Jimmy Stewart says:

    Good. They need to be treated just like any other employee. If they keep doing it they should be fired. Sick and tired of preferential treatment.

  29. Kathy W says:

    $9.00-10.00 per hour plus TIPS.

  30. nhk93 says:

    Why do we bend over backwards and grab our ankles when it comes to Islam. Christians or any other religion aren’t given time-off to go pray. No religious priveleges for Muslims. They are in America now, they conform to American ways or kick them back to their Muslim country–they don’t belong in a non-muslim country like ours anyway. Folks, this is how they’ve taken over Europe and England and we’re really stupid if we allow this secret Islamic encroachment into our way of life.

  31. Muslims are Vermin says:

    send these filthy, stinking pigs back to their somali toilet.

    1. Truth be Told says:

      lIf that is the casel lets send you with them. It is clear by your post that America does not need you. You and people like you are vermin.

  32. kitty hogan says:

    Not going to rent from Hertz anymore

  33. Hamid al Hamadi says:

    Less than ten bucks an hour and no health insurance and no paid sick days? How exactly is the union helping them do anything but scam some goofing off time by not clocking out for breaks?

  34. geronimo says:

    The union’s attempt to get these people special privileges under the labor laws would put the government in the position of violating the 1st amendment establishment of religion clause. I mean an actual, real violation–unlike the silly made-up imaginary mandates against prayer in schools or the Ten Commandments posted in a public building. Let’s see if the ACLU jumps in to oppose the union on this. Or if they once again prove they are nothing but anti-American hypocrites.

  35. walter12 says:

    Why is it that the Seattle Leftist loves everything that is wrong with this nation today? Muslims and their religion, Islam, is not compatible with the US Constitution. Islam, means, to submit. To submit yourself to Allah and nothing else in life. There is no history of demcracy or representative government in the Muslim world.

  36. Disappointed says:

    I will never use Hertz again. You have forever lost my business and that of my company.

  37. Hank Warren says:

    This is all about limiting Free Speech. After all, censorship is everywhere. The gov’t (and their big business cronies) censor free speech, shut down dissent and ban the book “America Deceived II”. Free speech for all.
    Last link (before Google Books bans it also]:
    http://www.iuniverse.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-000190526

  38. atlanta1941 says:

    that’s how Muslims are, they want everybody to respect their customs and cater to the idiotic religious rules, it’s time they were told that this is a secular country and they don’t like it get the hell out and immigration stop allowing them the immigrate to the United States,

  39. Sara says:

    Pity the person who has to clean the Hertz bathroom floor after each Somali has thrown water over his head and onto the floor. Why were there footbaths installed at the University of Michigan? Do I get a container of holy water so I can pray too?

  40. Sara says:

    Disappointed: It’s Avis, Hertz, it’s everywhere.

  41. the old rang says:

    I see, by the text of the article, a complete following of the fellow Arab/Union/DNC ticket, by the omission of many other pertinent and most probably known data…

    1) What is the amount of time given, in the contract, for Muslim Praying? (and knowing there will be none for Christian or Jewish prayer time.

    2) By the contract, how much time had they been taking? (As compared to the Christians and Jews?)

    3) Was this a type of labor action to prove to the infidels, the Muslims, can, by right of Al Taqueyya, do as they see fit?

    4) Is there a labor contract coming due, where this will be an issue for the company to be harassed by Muslim groups, until the union gets what they wish to squeeze he company out of business?

    6) How much input is coming from the White House to help foment dissension towards the company?

    7) Since CBS stands firmly for such actions, with under-reporting of the other side…

    we know the answers.

    1. krp says:

      Christians and Jews do not have SPECIFIC times during the day when they must pray. They can do it at any hour. Do you expect me to believe that you never take coffee breaks at work? You never take bathroom breaks?
      So they schedule their coffee breaks to coincide with the times that they have to pray, what’s the big deal. The issue here is that these particular ones were taking longer breaks than necessary, so they were being asked to clock out. What’s the problem with that?
      I have never been to a Muslem country, but let’s say someone is driving a bus in Oman and he is driving down the street when it comes time to pray. What would he do? Possibly he would just stop the bus in the middle of the street and do his prayers. You would think that he would be blocking traffic, but not if every other driver were doing the same thing and all the passenger in his bus would be doing the same thing.
      So if someone has been doing this every day for their entire lives, it would be a habit to them, just as if you were living in some other country and you would still celebrate the 4th of July and Thanksgiving and exchange gifts with your famliy on December 25. You would do it just by habit and custom. It isn’t so much a religious practice for them, as it a habit for them. I guess

  42. Paul in FL says:

    It’s absurd to tolerate even if they clock in and out. You don’t take breaks from work to practice religion – that’s crazy.

  43. Kelly Mcanine says:

    Sounds to me as if they are Somali refugees,and the government gets them their jobs … that’s why they are allowed to “colonize” certain jobs

  44. Rick says:

    No seriously, I worked with a Muslim once, he told he needed to take “prayer breaks” every two hours all day long…the dude prayed more than anyone I’ve ever seen. You think it was an excuse to shirk work?

  45. michaelp says:

    WHERE ARE THE MUSLIMS, THAT DISAPPROVE OF THE ATTACKS ON AMERICA ?

    1. John Sweet says:

      there are none!

  46. catzcomment says:

    I’m just wondering, after we’ve been incrementally intimidated into accomodating “Muslim” traditions and prohibiting our own, when CAIR will file a lawsuit on behalf of a home grown terrorist who has blown up a building here that “jihad is a just expression of religion” and a protected activity. Gad!!!

  47. dontbombmebro says:

    34 less shuttle bus bombs to be concerned about

    1. the old rang says:

      Why don’t we make the administration and the democrats obey the Constitution, as it was written, or, at least get the military to honor their oath of enlistment…

      all enemies, foreign and domestic.

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