SHAKOPEE, Minn. (WCCO/AP) — Members of the Somali Community and Amazon workers are asking the retail giant to “Hear our voice.”

During the heart of the holiday season, Somali Amazon workers staged a protest and rally against the company they say is not responding to community demands. Joining them Friday evening at an Amazon warehouse in Shakopee will be U.S. Rep.-elect Ilhan Omar, who’s the first Somali-American and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress.

After meeting twice with Amazon management, members of its East African workforce say they were forced to stage this rally.

What they want are safe jobs and respect for Amazon’s majority East African workforce — 60 percent of Amazon’s 3,000 workers in the area are East African. They want Amazon to be fair when dealing with them when it comes to productivity.

Workers say its hard to reach that 230 item an hour requirement because their time is interrupted when they leave the production line for prayer. Muslim workers are given paid leave for prayers breaks, a requirement by state law.

This group wants Amazon to promote workers from their majority East African workforce and to use profits to fund initiatives that address issues like lack of safe and affordable housing.

They believe Amazon should work with it’s Somali workers to reduce economic disparity in the community it heavily recruits from.

The workers are being represented by the nonprofit Awood Center. But the Star Tribune reports the two sides have not resolved their differences, which include increasing workloads and limited advancement opportunities.

(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (17)
  1. Corky Freeman says:

    Typical Minnesota BS. Don’t like it here….. go back to that rotting cesspool you came from & you can pray all you want.

  2. Gail Simpson says:

    There are 5,000 refugees in Mexico who would love to have your job. Be happy you have one. If you don’t like it, leave. I wish I could get paid time off for praying.

  3. Bruce Remmen says:

    What the hell is wrong with following the rules, my ancestors had to back 150+ years ago, and what about all the Americans that are offended by them this is our country l don’t recall seeing or hearing any Americans asking them to come to our country and change things, l never in 48 years was allowed to walk of a production line to go pray. I feel sorry for my children and grandchildren because what our government is doing for these people is wrong I can see a war starting because of this, it is really simple adapt to our ways of life or leave we don’t want or need your type here.

  4. Ruckus Tom says:

    It all comes back to South Park.

  5. John Herman says:

    The only solution: Liberia, all of them. one way, cargo class, never to return.

  6. Thomas Ford says:

    Muslims demanding that Americans bend to their Islamic will. Muslims are a growing cancer in this Republic and the two women in Congress will only widen the tent opening for more Muslims to enter America.
    Radical Muslims want to kill you.
    Moderate Muslims want Radical Muslims to kill you.

  7. Too many ignorant and racist comments being posted in response to this subject, conveniently forgetting the First Amendment of their Constitution, which includes the freedom to practice their religion. They also seem to forget that they mostly came from Europe within the past 200 years and have no more rights to anything than those who came after them.

    Fortunately, most Minnesotans I know or hear about respect and appreciate cultural diversity.

  8. Bob Carrillo says:

    I know a MN CAIR and Ilhan Omar “BULL” slinging setup when I see one.. She and the rest of these “Grifters” – beggars – and thieves – are Political Trash..

    Don’t like the job? “Hit the road”, as they say….

    Omar needs to be forced to explain her use of campaign finance funds to pay for her 2017, December – divorce from her brother.. when she was also married to another fella TWO YEARS AGO.. So, for the last two years she was apparently married to 2 men.. One (brother) she married OR pretended to marry – to bring him in to the US ILLEGALLY…and then husband number two..

    Can you say Perjury relating to the marital dissolution Court matter to divorce from her brother. And her attorney is apparently the same lawyer Keith Ellison has used, Carla Kjellberg.. Hmmm…

    AGAIN…misuse of campaign finance money for personal reasons – A DIVORCE. I thought that WAS ILLEGAL..

  9. E, ROBOT says:

    I smell union interference here.