Electrolux makes changes to accomodate Muslim workers

Electrolux building
An Electrolux building in St. Cloud, Minn., as seen on July 22, 2010. The company is adjusting its meal schedule to accommodate Muslim employees during Ramadan.
MPR Photo/Ambar Espinoza

The freezer manufacturer Electrolux is adjusting its meal schedule to accommodate Muslim employees during Ramadan.

During the month-long Islamic holiday, Muslims fast from sunrise to sunset. Earlier this week, Muslim workers said they wouldn't be able to break their fast at sunset with a new company policy that prohibits food on the production floor.

Jim Kiser, the union representative for Electrolux workers, said the company proposed the schedule adjustment Friday.

"The company has presented the union with what it considers a reasonable solution to the problem," Kiser said. "The union is considering it and whether their proposal complies with our labor agreement between Electrolux and the union."

Kiser said the union's contract allows breaks and lunch periods to be moved as necessary to comply with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and other legal obligations.

Ramadan begins August 10th. The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American Islamic Relations says it is unclear if the proposed schedule change takes into account the daily change in the time of sunset.

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