Sunday, 7 February 2016

Interesting Problem

From Yahoo

MILWAUKEE (Reuters) - Seven Muslim workers at an eastern Wisconsin manufacturer have been fired after disregarding a break policy that did not allow them to pray at the times dictated by their faith, the company said on Wednesday.

The terminated workers were among 53 Somali Muslims who walked off the job on Jan. 14 after Ariens Company, a tools and equipment maker in Brillion, Wisconsin, began requiring them to pray only during the two 10-minute breaks provided to them during the day, the company said in a statement.


"It came out of nowhere and the company did not want to listen to some suggestions and options to make the current breaks more flexible to align with the prayer schedule," he said.

Ariens, which has 1,500 employees worldwide, has set up designated prayer rooms for Muslim workers in Brillion, the company said. Brillion is about 25 miles south of Green Bay.

The company said letting the workers pray during unscheduled breaks disrupted production schedules. In certain circumstances, workers can be prohibited from praying during unscheduled breaks if it causes an "undue hardship" for the business, according to the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

I'm personally of the "your religion, sort it out" and it's clear here that the company were not exactly being difficult here.

The problem is that manufacturing depends on the line. I once interviewed at Honda and mid-interview, the interviewers had a tea break. I was like "wait, what" and off we went to the tea room for 15 minutes, before then returning for the interview. Despite being an office job, the rules were no drinks at workspaces, and fixed tea times. You weren't allowed to get a tea at other times. Silly for the office jobs, but they like this whole "everyone's equal" culture, so there you have it.

Tea breaks exist in manufacturing, like they don't in most offices, for this reason. It's about the synchronisation of work. You need the line running smoothly. If a bunch of people aren't there, it doesn't. That's why there's this window for tea breaks - the whole line might stop for that period, but that's the only stop it'll get. A call centre doesn't have this. The "switch" gives calls to people signed in - if you're not there, it goes to another advisor. Everyone goes when they want to (and this actually works better, because it means there's always people handling calls).

This company probably couldn't care less about a small number of people taking 10 minutes off for a prayer. The problem is that it screws up the line. The guy who fixes on the wheels is stood around waiting for you, with nothing to do.


Mark Wadsworth said...

Agreed. Try posting something I can heartily disagree with for a change :-)

Unknown said...

As I understand it, if a prayer is missed for any reason it can be caught up later.

Bayard said...

TM, that was my immediate thought. I mean, if you are fighting a battle, for instance, it's going to be a big loser if you go off and start praying in the middle, so I reckoned that this was not a new problem and probably one that was thought of by the Prophet. The Somalis were just being awkward and playing the Religion card. There must be something else behind it, as there usually was in most of the apparently pointless strikes that used to happen in the UK in the 60s and 70s.

Rich Tee said...

This is where I can see that the people who complain about "creeping Islamisation" have a point.

What will happen is that the Muslims will now complain to an Equal Opportunities board and the employer gets prosecuted for discrimination (or backs down due to the bad publicity). The company then adjusts itself to accommodate the Muslims.

Then the Muslims find some other practice that violates their religion, make another complaint, and the cycle starts again.

L fairfax said...

This is the thin end of the wedge, there will be more and demands over time.

Bayard said...

RT, it's simply a group of people exploiting a state-conferred advantage to their own benefit. If the state confers special privileges on any group, no-one can be surprised if some people in that group exploit them. Just because some Muslims are exploiting the US laws about religious practices, does not make it "creeping Islamisation" any more than a bunch of Australian Aborigines exploiting the race laws is "creeping aboriginisation".

Rich Tee said...


False comparison. Aborigines were the original inhabitants of Australia and it was the white man who was the invader. In the USA, it is Islam that is the invader. (Yes, I know that the white man was the original invader of the USA, don't want to get bogged down in recriminations.)

Bayard said...

RT, I think you've just disproved your own argument. If it is relevant that the Aborigines are the original inhabitants, then it must be relevant that the white Americans are not the original inhabitants. In actual fact, neither point is relevant.

DBC Reed said...

Stigler's argument rests on there being a moving assembly line but the machines Ariens makes ,snow movers, sit-on mowers etc, don't look big enough.