Last Updated:July 30 @ 06:50 pm

Hertz fires 26 Muslim drivers in dispute over breaks

By AP Staff

SEATTLE (AP) — More than two dozen Somali Muslim drivers for Hertz at Seattle-Tacoma International Airport are being fired after refusing to clock out for daily breaks during which they normally pray.

The 26 workers drive the company’s rental cars to and from the airport for cleaning and refueling. They are among 34 Hertz employees suspended Sept. 30 for failing to clock out before breaks.

Teamsters Local 117, which represents the workers, said Hertz agreed during contract negotiations last year that union members would not need to clock out during prayer breaks. But the company maintains workers were violating a settlement with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission reached two years ago.

“From our perspective, Hertz didn’t even follow their own internal policy,” union spokesman Paul Zilly said Friday. Hertz didn’t provide a verbal or written warning and jumped right to suspension, he said.

“It was a huge disappointment and a tremendous frustration,” Zilly said.

Eight of the 34 suspended workers signed the company’s new clock-out agreement and have returned to their jobs, company spokesman Rich Broome said in an email. Termination letters have been sent to the rest.

“The failure of many employees to return to work promptly after prayers had created an unmanageable, unfair work environment at the Seattle airport location,” Broome wrote. Clocking out ensured that everyone’s interests were preserved, he said.

The company gave suspended workers until the end of the day Thursday to sign the clock-out agreement, if they wanted to be reinstated, Broome told The Seattle Times. The firings were first reported by KOMO-TV.

Zilly said Friday that instead of an ultimatum, the company should have sat down with the union to negotiate this change.

“Whenever there’s a change in working conditions and you’re working under a collective bargaining agreement, they need to notify and bargain with the union over those changes,” he said. “That’s their legal obligation.”

“It’s not about prayer, it’s not about religion; it’s about reasonable requirements,” Broome told the AP earlier this month.

Observant Muslims pray several times a day.

If Hertz thought some employees were abusing the break policies, it should have dealt with them individually, Zilly said.

The union has filed an unfair labor practices complaint with the National Labor Relations Board. The union also said it is also in the process of filing religious discrimination charges with the EEOC.

The union represents nearly 80 Hertz drivers who earn between $9.15 and $9.95 an hour. About 70 percent are Muslims.

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33 Comments

  1. teapartyproudComment by teapartyproud
    October 24, 2011 @ 1:01 pm

    This is just another nudge toward the eventual establishment of Sharia And the Muslim conquest of the western world. The camel is way past his nose in the tent. When will we wake up?

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (51 votes cast)
    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      October 24, 2011 @ 2:34 pm

      Yes, the camel in the tent analogy is especially appropriate here (You know someone’s going to call that a racist comment).

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (20 votes cast)
    • MorganComment by Precious
      October 24, 2011 @ 2:50 pm

      I worked with a union contract for years (not because I wanted to but because I had to if I wanted to work in my trade) Anyway, the contract was that during the day we were entitled to two breaks, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. For lunch we had to clock out for the 30 minutes.

      If I understand this business with the Muslims, they pray 5 or 6 times a day, so if they are taking these breaks ON TOP OF THEIR REGULAR BREAKS, it is totally unfair to the other employees.

      We had one woman working in our bakery that had a religions gathering once a year for a weekend, and by contract we had to let her attend, but she never got paid. It was on her own time..

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (28 votes cast)
  2. onewildmanComment by onewildman
    October 24, 2011 @ 1:31 pm

    They no more deserve being paid to take a prayer than smokers deserve being paid to take a smoke break. It’s not fair to everyone else. Screw the Unions!
     
    IMPEACH OBAMA NOW! ! ! ! !

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    Rating: 4.9/5 (52 votes cast)
    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      October 24, 2011 @ 1:43 pm

      One of the versions that I read said that Hertz was not going to dock their pay for these breaks. They just wanted a record of the length of the breaks. Apparently, several employees were abusing the prayer breaks by piddling around after their prayers were through rather than returning to work. Refusing to clock in and out even if it doesn’t affect your pay implies that the workers knew they were taking too long. Not all the muslims refused to follow the new policy.

      BTW, non-muslims do not enjoy the same rights as muslims in countries run by sharia law.  

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (42 votes cast)
    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      October 24, 2011 @ 2:29 pm

      Five stars for my Pomona buddy on that one!

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (7 votes cast)
    • getWisdom!Comment by getWisdom!
      October 24, 2011 @ 7:33 pm

      Y’all jus’ watch – the Unions are defending the Muslims for their right to take advantage of their employer; someday the muslims may be RUNNING THE UNIONS…

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      Rating: 4.9/5 (9 votes cast)
  3. rosechComment by rosech
    October 24, 2011 @ 1:36 pm

    Gung ho! Hertz.  You did the right thing.  Why should they think they are special and privileged?  They are not and should not be.  Simple.  This is especially significant since it too place in Seattle which thinks a lot like San Francisco.  Always makes me wonder what others in these cities really think about liberals running and ruining their lives!  I applaud Hertz and wish something could be done about Tyson and her love affair with Muslims and illegals. 

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (40 votes cast)
    • MorganComment by Precious
      October 24, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

      This is America. If they don’t like the rules under which they work, then return to their home country.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (29 votes cast)
  4. PJSolarzComment by PJSolarz
    October 24, 2011 @ 1:50 pm

    If an employeee is not doing what they are paid to do, their is no reason to “sit down with union representatives” Taking longer breaks than the company allows is the same as stealing. If the union wanted to negotiate longer breaks for prayer or better benefits, the time to do that was at the negotiating table, not after the fact. Hertz  did the right thing

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    Rating: 4.9/5 (37 votes cast)
    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      October 24, 2011 @ 2:18 pm

      The mini-breaks that supposedly covered prayer time were supposed to be 2-3 minutes long. That is time to grab a cup of coffee, run to the restroom or smoke about half a cigarette. I would think even if they weren’t messing around, by the time they washed up, pulled out their little rug and said their prayers they would have taken longer than 2-3 minutes. 

      I have seen unions defend people for sleeping on the job. They don’t really care if you deserve to be let go. They just seem to care about collecting dues. 

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      Rating: 4.9/5 (33 votes cast)
    • MorganComment by Precious
      October 24, 2011 @ 2:58 pm

      their is no reason to “sit down with union representatives”

      Amen brother. This is all about union control and another good reason to do away with them.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (24 votes cast)
    • thecatComment by thecat
      October 24, 2011 @ 3:15 pm

      Does anyone wonder why Unions are so unpopular? If I don’t do my job, I get fired. If a union worker doesn’t do his/her job the union fights for them, wasting company time, money and wasting our money too. It doesn’t matter who they are, or what they use their break for, if they don’t come back on time, they should be penalized. This group of UNION workers just happen to be Muslim.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (23 votes cast)
    • LAPhilComment by LAPhil
      October 24, 2011 @ 3:32 pm

      Unions have become so destructive to the work ethic it’s time they became extinct. They always pander to the least common denominator when it comes to productivity that they can not possibly be of any use to an employer, but of course they don’t exist for his benefit. More power to companies like Hertz and politicians like Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin who are willing to stand up to these slackers and goons and break their stranglehold on the employers as well as the workers.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (20 votes cast)
  5. copakemanComment by copakeman
    October 24, 2011 @ 2:27 pm

    in new york city, the only Christian religious  day given off was Good Friday. The school system also had a Easter week vacation, but I that vacation week is still taken, but it’s called something else now, not Easter week vacation. i dont know how our Thanksgiving
    holiday is explained to young students today.

    how long will it take the aclu to get involved, to defend these towelheads, and sue Hertz Corp for a few billion dollars ?

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (17 votes cast)
    • MorganComment by Precious
      October 24, 2011 @ 3:00 pm

      Easter Holiday is called “Spring break”. Christmas vacation is called “winter break”. We musn’t insult any one by calling them what they are.

      As for the ACLU, It’s probably coming.

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (17 votes cast)
  6. gutsywomanComment by gutsywoman
    October 24, 2011 @ 2:35 pm

    Notice how brazen and more  obnoxious the muslims have become since the  idiots in our country  elected one of them  and placed him  the White House ? 
    Better face the facts – we are surrounded by islamists in our every day life . They are here to take over and establish an islamic state complete with sharia law . It has happened in many other countries and it can happen here if we dont vote out obama and get rid of all his cronies . Prison would be a good place for all those crooks .

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (27 votes cast)
    • MorganComment by Precious
      October 24, 2011 @ 3:03 pm

      Gutsy…I don’t think it will make any difference to Muslims whether Obama is in the White House or not. It might make it easier, but no matter who is in office, they will continue their quest for world domination.

      http://answering-islam.org/Authors/Arlandson/ultimate_goal.htm

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      Rating: 5.0/5 (16 votes cast)
  7. Jack ReacherComment by Jack Reacher
    October 24, 2011 @ 2:36 pm

    Just a reminder to you that think you own this country… Don’t piss me off or I’ll sick the Baptists on you and trust me you do not want that.  As for the praying?  Stop with the BS… You guys know you’re sneaking in naps, although I doubt that guy behind you at kneel-down time is getting much of a nap.
    I am now back to renting from HERTZ again! 

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (12 votes cast)
  8. lizazComment by lizaz
    October 24, 2011 @ 3:42 pm

    Good for Hertz!    If they want to live in this country, go by our rules, otherwise, LEAVE!

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (21 votes cast)
  9. bna42Comment by bna42
    October 24, 2011 @ 4:26 pm

    “It’s not about prayer, it’s not about religion; it’s about reasonable requirements,” Broome told the AP earlier this month.

    Reasonable requirements are the same ones that the other employees are held to.  WHY are Somalia Muslims in this country working as drivers and members of a union?  Of course the union leaders woud complain, but the employer has every right to dismiss workers who are taking extra priviledges.

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  10. Tonto (USA)Comment by Tonto (USA)
    October 24, 2011 @ 6:26 pm

    The problems with “special allowances” for religious purposes can get pretty involved and convoluted….and unfair to other workers that don’t participate in them.  Where I worked (union shop) there were many muz workers…and they prayed on their breaks with the understanding that it did not become a public spectacle and that did not over run the alloted break time.  Breaks were only for body relief, supposedly, and prayer could be considered as a mental health issue….ergo relief.  Employees were warned that discilplinary actions could result for “excessive time off the job” if infractions were observed.  Most readily complied.  Sounds like Hertz had a management problem on the floor level that upper management hasd to correct with extreme means to regain control.  Good for them.  In my opinion, they were correct and rightous.

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    Rating: 5.0/5 (8 votes cast)
  11. cynicalobserverComment by cynicalobserver
    October 25, 2011 @ 12:32 am

    When you own the company, you can do as you please but when you work for someone else, you do as they please. A Christian prays without ceasing. Should they clock in then  pray the rest of the work day? or pray while working? They pray while working. No one should be given special privileges over their co-workers.

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  12. truckerjoe77Comment by truckerjoe77
    October 25, 2011 @ 3:23 am

    Hertz is being set up….let us hope that Hertz management has the courage to stand on principles. 

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    Rating: 4.5/5 (8 votes cast)
  13. DaveComment by Dave
    October 25, 2011 @ 8:53 am

    I am on Hertz’s side on this, was on Hertz’s side during the last round of CBA Negotitations, and remain committed to seeing the unions lose.

    I just have to ask, mainly of the commentators here, why you are all up in arms against the Muslims/Unions, yet the recent Sean May flag incident had you against the company.

    Both workers are breaking the rules, both workers are in the wrong, but because the American Flag was involved, Sean May is right to break the rules and walk off the job and the Muslims breaking the rules are just wrong.

    Curious… Very Curious…

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    Rating: 3.5/5 (4 votes cast)
    • onewildmanComment by onewildman
      October 25, 2011 @ 9:38 am

      Hey Dave you missed the point and are making an apples to oranges comparison.
      1. The Union workers had prior notice. 2. This was done because some workers abused the time they were suppose to be praying. I’m not saying they didn’t pray I’m saying that they were doing other things after they prayed. 3. Most drivers have complied.
      Hotel worker. 1. No previous warning given or notice that they would now enforce the police after two years of not enforcing the rule. 2. Wearing a flag pin has no effect to job performance. 
       no matter what religion you confess to belong to. There are always those who will try to cheat the system. Be it at work or the government they will try to do as little as possible to receive as much as possible.
       I saw a lot of this while a Union member. I have been in three different Unions and it was the same at all three. Every new hire who was doing the job they were hired to do was told by union stewards to slow down you are working too fast and making others look bad. Unions do not want you to work any harder than the slowest laziest member in the shop. I even had a union steward tell me to slow down because he needed overtime.
       
      IMPEACH OBAMA NOW! ! ! ! ! !

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    • DaveComment by Dave
      October 25, 2011 @ 9:57 am

      OneWildMan,

      The workers did receive notice. Since the last CBA Negotitations, this has been an issue, the employes chose to continue breaking the rules, and deserved to be reprimanded. The company offered these employees the ability to change, sign an agreement, and 8 of them kept their jobs. Get off your emotionally charged negativity.

      I despise the unions and what they have morphed into. From violent zealotry in the beginning to socialist sympathizer, the unions of America are causing the destruction of America. No doubt, no argument.

      The reasons I brought Sean May into this is made clear. Both employee sets were breaking the company policies, both received the policies and additional warnings, both have lost their jobs. Yet, people are angry against the Santa Monica Hotel for taking action, and most of the commentators support Hertz for taking the same action.

      When everything is the same, hypocrisy shows when one is blest for an action and one is cursed for taking action. One might argue Sean May’s religious preferences demand he wear his flag pin. Does this change the fact that policy, good business sense, or honoring commitments includes following the rules of our employers? The answer is NO!

      Both sets of employees “Bit the hand that feeds them,” and the consequences are painful.

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      Rating: 2.8/5 (5 votes cast)
    • pistol packing mamaComment by txgoatlady
      October 25, 2011 @ 12:24 pm

      Curious indeed.

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      Rating: 3.7/5 (3 votes cast)
    • teapartyproudComment by teapartyproud
      October 27, 2011 @ 9:04 pm

      Everything is not the same. Once again, these guys were given plenty of advance warning and time to clean up their behavior. Sean May was not.
      These guy’s actions were affecting their work and overall productivity. Sean May’s action did nothing to affect his work negatively.
      I repeat, NOT the same thing. Not even close!

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      Rating: 3.7/5 (3 votes cast)
  14. RATComment by RAT
    October 25, 2011 @ 9:01 am

    Glad someone and or corporation is finally taking action against this Muslim trash that is deliberately trying to disturb our society. When you have a job that requires a 8 hour shift put your hours in and then do what you want…PERIOD.

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  15. jen68Comment by jen68
    October 30, 2011 @ 8:22 pm

    No wonder their own countries are so backward.  With all the praying going on I’m amazed anything ever gets done. Lazy mongrels…..using prayer as an excuse to keep them from working and earning their keep.

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  16. colnunnComment by colnunn
    October 12, 2012 @ 6:02 pm

    According to getWisdom the Muslims will someday be running the unions. One day if we all don’t wake up, they will be running the world. Then what a hateful, hate-filled world it will be.

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    • jerrydomComment by jerrydom
      December 17, 2012 @ 7:27 pm

      Do you actually know any Muslims? I do. The Muslims I know don’t want to kill us. They want to live in peace just like you do.

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