08-Nov-2015 12:07

Tyson foods accomdating somalis

Tyson Foods has a pretty ugly reputation as a hard-nosed, nasty employer.

"These workers, many of them refugees from Sudan and Somalia and immigrants from Nigeria, have been attacked on the picket line and subjected to racist jeers.Three were sent to the hospital after being beaten and left writhing in a ditch beside the road.Tyson officials have been charged for reckless endangerment after running the UFCW Local 401 president’s car off the road." I don't normally report on every strike here but the words "Tyson Foods" reminded me of an interesting political connection.One of the forgotten roles Tyson Foods played is as a patron to the Clintons: It was James Blair, the chief outside counsel for Tyson Foods, who oversaw the commodities trades for Hillary Clinton when she invested about $1,000 and in just 10 months cleared an astonishing $100,000. And Tyson Foods' head honcho, Don Tyson, raised several hundred thousand dollars for Bill Clinton's political races. — Mohamed Abdi has stocked his African Grocery and Clothing Store with the kinds of things one might find in a market that caters to Muslims.Now, the recent arrival of a band of Somalis means even more changes for the community.

Some Mexicans have recently left Noel in search of employment elsewhere.

Census figures show that Noel’s population is roughly 58 percent Mexican and 39 percent white.

There are specialty foods, dark garments with hoods that Islamic women wear in public, prayer rugs and furniture styled to Mideastern tastes.

Many of his products feature labels in Arabic.“Business has been slow, but we have not been open for long,’’ Abdi said as he listened to a recording of the Quran being recited.

“People come to shop here from all over, but it is mainly for the Somalis who live here.’’But this is Noel, a town of 1,600 people that has already assimilated a large influx of Mexican workers who have found jobs processing chickens at the Tyson poultry complex, the economic linchpin of Noel.

The Mexican population — many said they prefer to be called Mexican rather than Hispanic — has put down roots, opening businesses and buying homes since their arrival here in the 1990s.

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