Manufacturer stands firm on Muslim prayer breaks

No extra time, third break is interfering with production.

MILWAUKEE — An American-Islamic civil liberties group is asking a Wisconsin manufacturer to back away from a policy that doesn’t allow an extra break for prayer for Muslim employees.

But Ariens Co. said it can handle the matter internally and it’s not interested in negotiating through the Council for America-Islamic Relations.

The friction comes after 53 workers left their jobs in protest after Ariens decided to enforce a policy of two 10-minute breaks per shift. Ariens had previously allowed the newly hired Muslim employees to leave their workstations a third time to accommodate prayer.

The company says those breaks were disrupting production.

CAIR is asking the company to revert to its previous policy until a resolution can be reached.

Ariens is based in Brillion, 90 miles north of Milwaukee.

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