To protect the health of workers and customers, food manufacturers in the United States are strict about sanitation every day. But the COVID-19 pandemic has made the issue even more critical as our country works to contain this crisis, and food manufacturers in America are demonstrating how effective workplaces can adjust during emergencies.
New Jersey-based Premio Foods is a maker of specialty Italian sausage products with about 1,000 employees. In addition to continuing its regular rigorous sanitation practices, the manufacturer has stepped up its efforts to sanitize operations and maintain hygienic conditions by increasing the use of protective clothing and ensuring maximum face coverage.
“We’ve stepped up expectations about changing out protective clothing and gloves, so that people cycle through them more quickly,” said Premio Foods Senior Vice President of Operations Eric Fidoten, who is also a member of the Board of Governors of the National Association of Manufacturers’ Manufacturing Leadership Council. “We have our employees sanitize their hands, then sanitize the glove itself—and do all this more frequently than usual. We instructed people to cover their entire head except eyes and forehead. Where we don’t mandate safety glasses, we now encourage our associates to use them.”
The company has held meetings to demonstrate proper procedures and conducted “audits” throughout the day to check that employees are thoroughly protected. It has also instituted rotating breaks and lunches to reduce large gatherings at its facilities and is ensuring high-use surfaces in breakrooms and lunch areas are frequently sanitized.
“Manufacturers across the country are committed to the highest standards of safety and sanitation,” said David R. Brousell, Vice President and Executive Director of the NAM’s Manufacturing Leadership Council. “Businesses like Premio Foods are a great example of the way manufacturers lead during times of need, implementing critical measures to keep workers and communities safe and healthy. As we grapple with this global health challenge, that example is more important than ever.”
In addition to leading by example, Premio Foods has recommended that other businesses and organizations work to step up their responses as well. They can do so by taking steps such as contacting a sanitation consulting company for a tailored sanitation plan, restricting vendors and other visitors from entering the facility and offering a brief how-to on sanitation procedures to any necessary visitors.
Of course, the standard measures are the most important—and achievable by anyone: wash your hands frequently, eliminate physical contact at work and observe social distancing, sanitize frequently-used surfaces and rooms and ensure that anyone who shows signs of illness stays home.
For more information, including best practices, CDC resources and more, go to nam.org/coronavirus.
Manufacturing businesses have long been proponents of equality in the workplace. As legislation to codify protections for LGBT individuals passes through the House of Representatives, the National Association of Manufacturers joined the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, Business Roundtable, and other members of the business community in advocating its passage, forging coalitions and providing congressional testimony.
Introduced with bipartisan support in the U.S. House and Senate in March, the Equality Act includes federal protections for individuals based on sexual orientation and gender identity under the existing framework of the Civil Rights Act, which already provides protection against discrimination on the basis of religion, national origin, race, color or sex. The goal of the legislation is to ensure that no person can face legal discrimination based on their gender or sexual orientation, setting a clear federal standard to enable individuals to succeed based on their abilities and qualifications to perform a job.
“Employers understand the importance of creating an environment in which the very best people can succeed based on merit,” Patrick Hedren, NAM vice president, labor, legal and regulatory policy, said. “At the same time, manufacturers know that discrimination in any form is antithetical to the values that we work to uphold every day: equality of opportunity, individual liberty, free enterprise and competitiveness.”
In March, more than 40 other industry associations rallied to support the Equality Act, providing an important boost for the groundbreaking legislation. In the weeks since, manufacturing representatives have testified before the House Education and Labor Committee and signed a coalition letter to the House Subcommittee on Civil Rights and Human Services calling for the Act’s passage. As Congress considers the way forward, manufacturers have made clear that they intend to advocate forcefully on behalf of the legislation and uphold their commitment to workers of every gender identity and sexual orientation.
“The Equality Act creates a clear federal standard that matches the sentiments manufacturers already share: gender identity and sexual orientation have no impact on an employee’s abilities and discrimination is not welcome on the manufacturing floor,” Hedren said. “We look forward to working with Congress as this important legislation moves ahead.”
Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) President and CEO Jay Timmons released the following statement after the Department of Labor (DOL) rescinded the 2016 Persuader Rule:
Manufacturers have fought for this victory for many years in the courts, in Congress and with two administrations, using the full weight of our policy, government relations and legal teams, said Timmons. The NAM’s Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action was able to halt the rule in court in 2016.And in 2017, the Trump administration, as part of its broader regulatory relief agenda, thankfully began the process of unwinding the rule. This overreaching rule threatened to impose serious burdens on manufacturers and upend employee–employer communications. Now manufacturers are relieved that this threat to workplace communications is finally and officially off the books. Commonsense steps like this to rein in onerous regulations are a major reason why manufacturers are reporting record-high business optimism.
The Manufacturers’ Center for Legal Action (MCLA) is the leading voice of manufacturers in the courts and engages in a range of activities, including direct party litigation and operating a robust amicus program, as well as educating manufacturers about emerging legal trends. The MCLA is led by NAM Senior Vice President and General Counsel Linda Kelly and NAM Vice President of Litigation and Deputy General Counsel Peter Tolsdorf. More information on the MCLA can be found here.
The National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) is the largest manufacturing association in the United States, representing small and large manufacturers in every industrial sector and in all 50 states. Manufacturing employs more than 12 million men and women, contributes $2.25 trillion to the U.S. economy annually, has the largest economic impact of any major sector and accounts for more than three-quarters of private-sector research and development. The NAM is the powerful voice of the manufacturing community and the leading advocate for a policy agenda that helps manufacturers compete in the global economy and create jobs across the United States. For more information about the Manufacturers or to follow us on Shopfloor, Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.