Labor & Employment

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Business Operations

Manufacturer Racks Up New Product in COVID-19 Response

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Marlin Steel Wire Products team member creates newly designed test-tube racks critical to COVID-19 testing efforts in the U.S.
Marlin Steel Wire Products team member James Branch creates newly designed test-tube racks critical to COVID-19 testing efforts in the U.S.

At 6:15 p.m. on Friday, Marlin Steel Wire Products, a Baltimore-based wire and sheet metal fabricator, received an urgent order. A client conducting coronavirus testing needed a large set of test-tube racks by Monday morning to continue work. Marlin had never designed test-tube racks before, but the company sprang into action.

It was a race against time. During a week when employees had already worked 40 to 60 hours—and on a day when some had begun at 6:00 a.m.—a group volunteered to work through the weekend. After working until 10:30 p.m. on Friday, they started again at 6:00 a.m. on Saturday, working until 10:00 p.m. that evening and resuming early Sunday morning. At 1:40 p.m. on Sunday—just 43 hours from the moment they received the request—the racks were ready to ship.

Still, the work continued. The client asked Marlin to send the racks by plane—but when Marlin’s staff arrived at the airport, their flight was canceled. Undeterred, Marlin loaded the racks into a truck with two drivers to cover the 1,100-mile journey. By Monday morning, they were unloading the racks—fewer than 65 hours after receiving the order.

“This team is extraordinary. They’re manufacturing heroes,” said Drew Greenblatt, Marlin’s president and owner and a member of the National Association of Manufacturers Executive Committee. “Despite working 40 to 60 hours during the week, they dropped everything, pulled together and used an extra 30 hours to get things done. This is Rosie the Riveter stuff.”

While the COVID-19 pandemic continues to unfold, the company is taking extra measures to protect employees; keeping workers at least six feet apart, sanitizing workstations and door handles frequently, and ensuring that employees able to work from home can do so. Greenblatt emphasized manufacturers’ importance to the effort against COVID-19 and the need for factories to stay open.

“That lab cannot determine if COVID-19 is in that test tube unless they have that wire rack, and I can’t manufacture that wire rack if I don’t have my steel suppliers in Illinois or my cardboard box manufacturer in Maryland or my employees in our facility,” said Greenblatt. “We’re doing this so they can accomplish their mission. We need to keep factories open because we’re making the goods that keep our world functioning.”

The NAM, working with state association partners, has asked governors and municipal leaders nationwide to declare manufacturing facilities “essential” so that businesses like Marlin Steel can continue their lifesaving work.

“Manufacturers in America are mobilizing to help our nation overcome this historic crisis,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “America’s creators will respond to this challenge, as we have throughout history. We’re in this together as we fight to keep our country healthy and strong.”

“Small manufacturers can help defeat COVID-19,” said Greenblatt. “Many make products that help labs or hospitals. Let the NAM know and let your governor know: your products and team can play a critical role to save lives.”

Press Releases

ICYMI: Timmons Discusses Manufacturers’ Response to COVID-19

“We’re All in This Together”

Washington, D.C. – Today, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons briefed members of the media on manufacturers’ response to COVID-19. Timmons detailed the NAM’s coordinated effort with federal, state and local officials to provide COVID-19 supplies and how manufacturers are stepping up to provide key medical supplies and resources to keep Americans safe and healthy.

Timmons also highlighted many NAM priorities included in the Senate-passed stimulus package and reiterated the need for state and local officials to deem the manufacturing supply chain as essential.

“It’s been said that this is like a war. And in World War II, we were the arsenal of democracy. Today, manufacturers are called to arm our health care workers in the battle with this deadly virus,” said Timmons. “But it goes beyond the front lines at the hospital. Our grocery stores must be stocked. Our electricity must keep running. Our devices must keep us connected. Our lives may be socially distant, but life goes on. And that means manufacturers must keep making daily life possible.”

Key Wins in Senate-Passed Stimulus Package:

“The Senate acted boldly and approved its COVID-19 relief bill. We’ve been working for weeks to ensure many of manufacturers’ key priorities were included. The bill also takes key steps from the NAM plan by increasing the maximum amount of tax deductions for interest on business loans and by creating an incentive, through loan forgiveness, for small manufacturers to retain their employees during this crisis. Quite frankly, with 90% of our members being small businesses, I think this is one of the most critical parts of the legislation.”

Manufacturers’ Response to COVID-19:

“Manufacturers are stepping up to supply desperately needed health care equipment, repurpose their facilities, supply the essentials for daily life and keep our employees and communities safe.”

“Take, for example, Marlin Steel in Baltimore, a wire products manufacturer. Last Friday, they received an emergency order to make wire racks for test tubes for COVID-19 testing. They hadn’t made test-tube racks before but volunteered to work all weekend to get it done, and they shipped out by Sunday afternoon. That’s the kind of story we’re hearing over and over across the country, on a large and small scale.” 

Overwhelming Support from Manufacturers in Providing Medical Supplies:

  • A manufacturer provided 75,000 gloves, 3,000 Tyvek suits and nearly 20,000 face masks that were sent to New York City.
  • Another company supplied 225,000 gowns and 224,250 over-the-shoe booties to Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).
  • The NAM also helped facilitate one manufacturer’s ability to provide 38 million gloves to FEMA and other critical medical destinations.

Over the past few days, the NAM has seen:

  • 116 companies provide gloves;
  • 106 companies provide protectives units; and
  • 116 companies provide over-the-shoe booties

On the Defense Production Act:

“Manufacturers are producing as much as we possibly can, and whether the DPA is in effect or not, you know, manufacturers aren’t going to be compelled to do the right thing because we already are. That said, if there is a way for DPA to be helpful, for instance… but the fact of the matter is manufacturers are doing everything we can every single day to meet the significant needs for personal protective equipment medical supplies.”

On the Media:

“I want to thank everybody in the media for the crucial role that you’re playing. I realize that these are tough times. I realize that these are times when tempers flare, but there is no more important freedom that we enjoy than the First Amendment to our Constitution, and I want to personally thank you on behalf of the nation’s 13 million manufacturers and their families. I want to thank you for all you do to protect our nation’s freedoms and to get the news and the word out.”

To watch the full video of the remarks, click here.

NAM

The National Association of Manufacturers 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 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.37 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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 Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Business Operations

Food Manufacturer Details Measures to Combat COVID-19

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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.

Demystifying Data

How Coronavirus is Affecting Manufacturers

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Manufacturers across the country are working to keep their teams and communities safe and healthy and also contending with the full range of effects—to the economy, to their supply chains, to their operations and more—of the COVID-19 outbreak. A newly released survey of manufacturing leaders conducted by the National Association of Manufacturers reveals the state of the industry as the situation unfolds.

In the survey, which was in the field from Feb. 28 to March 9, 78.3% of respondents say that the COVID-19 outbreak is likely to have a financial impact on their businesses; 53.1% of manufacturers are anticipating a change in their operations in the coming months; and 35.5% say that they are already facing supply chain disruptions.

When asked about resources that they need, survey respondents cite reliable information, including nonpolitical and non-sensationalized facts; clear and timely updates on new restrictions and health advisories; information about how other companies are reacting; clear guidelines from expert agencies like the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health; and early detection resources to help stop the spread of the virus.

The survey findings helped inform the NAM’s “COVID-19 Policy Action Plan Recommendations,” released earlier this week, with policy proposals for lawmakers to help contain the spread of coronavirus and ensure economic resilience.

“Already, manufacturers are grappling with disruptions to their businesses due to the COVID-19 outbreak, with many anticipating financial and operational consequences—even before some of the developments of this week,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “The federal government can take steps to further equip manufacturers to deal with COVID-19 by implementing the NAM’s ‘COVID-19 Policy Action Plan Recommendations.’ Across the country, manufacturers are stepping up to keep their employees and their communities safe and healthy, and working closely with elected officials, we can ensure the resilience not only of our companies but also our country.”

Within a day of the plan’s release, leading members of Congress began pushing for one of its key elements, tariff relief, and both the administration and members of Congress voiced their support for key legal protections for manufacturers of protective N95 masks.

As policymakers address these issues, the NAM is continuing to convene coronavirus resources for manufacturers, connecting these businesses with guidance from appropriate government officials and agencies and providing updates on the state of the manufacturing industry.

For more information, including best practices, CDC resources and more, go to nam.org/coronavirus.

Press Releases

Manufacturers Release Policy Action Plan in Response to COVID-19

“We hope our elected leaders can unite to meet this moment.”

Washington, D.C. – The National Association of Manufacturers is calling on the federal government to take legislative and administrative steps to equip manufacturers to respond to COVID-19 and future public health emergencies, including specific actions in five key policy areas.

“When our country faces difficult challenges, manufacturers strive to be the solution,” said NAM President and CEO Jay Timmons. “For the good of our communities and our country, we are committed to bringing people together as we battle the COVID-19 outbreak. Neither government nor industry can solve this challenge alone. This is a path forward to ensure Americans’ health, our business stability and our economic resilience, and we hope our elected leaders can unite to meet this moment.”

The NAM’s “COVID-19 Policy Action Plan Recommendations” identify five key policy areas where legislative and administration action would help combat COVID-19 and future public health emergencies successfully:

  • Keeping Our Workforce Safe and Healthy
  • Protecting Our Communities
  • Providing Economic Stability
  • Encouraging Resilient Growth in the United States
  • Encouraging Long-Term Job Growth

Read the full policy action plan here.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers 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 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.37 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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 Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Workforce

Siemens USA’s CEO on Bringing More Women into Manufacturing

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The NAM’s Makers Series is an exclusive interview series featuring creators, innovators and trailblazers in the industry sharing their insights and advice. Each month, we ask founders, executives and leaders of innovative firms what it takes to be a leader for manufacturers and makers in America.

Meet Barbara Humpton, CEO of Siemens USA. In this edition of NAM’s Makers Series, she explains why women are essential to manufacturing’s workforce.

Policy and Legal

Timmons Touts 2020 Priorities During State of Manufacturing Address

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Last week, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons delivered the 2020 State of Manufacturing Address at Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa, highlighting the NAM’s policy agenda and laying out manufacturers’ priorities. Coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the founding of the NAM, the livestreamed Address kicks off a yearlong focus on the association’s contributions to manufacturing and its work to strengthen the industry going forward.

“The story of the past 125 years is one of manufacturers…changing our country for the better, and being the solution,” said Timmons. “That’s our calling for the next 125 years.”

Timmons honed in on Creators Wanted, an unprecedented campaign led by the Manufacturing Institute, the NAM’s workforce and education partner, to attract a new generation and change the industry’s perception. This spring, the Creators Wanted Tour is expected to engage more than 250,000 Americans with high-tech manufacturing and reach more than 15 million people online.  The tour stops will build momentum for the Making America Festival in Cincinnati in September. Timmons also announced major Creators Wanted sponsorships from Vermeer and neighboring Iowa manufacturer Pella Corporation.

At the event, the NAM released its “Competing to Win” agenda, a detailed roadmap for candidates and elected officials. Representing 12.8 million men and women who make things in America—from small business owners to global companies in every industrial sector—Timmons called for the nation to support leaders who stand for free enterprise, competitiveness, individual liberty and equal opportunity.

After the Address, Timmons participated in a panel with Vermeer’s President and CEO Jason Andringa, moderated by NAM’s Senior Vice President of Communications and Brand Strategy Erin Streeter. They further emphasized the role business leaders should play in helping unify the nation, the success of manufacturers’ trade agenda and Andringa’s ability to make unprecedented investments in his business due to tax and regulatory reform.

“Manufacturers like us are proud to offer rewarding careers, to support our community and to strengthen our country,” said Andringa. “Like millions of men and women across the United States, we are committed to building a better future—and today, we’re more optimistic than ever about what that future holds.”

View a photo gallery from the event.

Want to help shape the future? Learn how to get involved in our Creators Wanted campaign, and read Competing to Win, our policy blueprint for candidates and elected officials.

Press Releases

Timmons Delivers 2020 NAM State of Manufacturing Address in Iowa

Speech Marked 125th Anniversary of NAM’s Founding and Highlighted ‘Creators Wanted’ Campaign to Address Growing Workforce Shortage

Washington, D.C. – National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons delivered the eighth-annual NAM State of Manufacturing Address today at equipment manufacturer Vermeer Corporation in Pella, Iowa. Speaking to Vermeer Corporation employees, business and community leaders and local manufacturers, Timmons highlighted the NAM’s ambitious plan to address the industry’s growing workforce crisis with the groundbreaking, multimillion-dollar “Creators Wanted” campaign.

In his remarks, Timmons said:

“For 125 years, your NAM has led the business community and fought for all who make things in America. And all of you in this room, and the 13 million men and women in our industry, some of whom are watching today, are part of the storied history of building an exceptional nation. And Vermeer, this very company, embodies the story of manufacturers’ progress.”

. . . .

“In this pivotal year, the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute, our workforce and education partner, are setting out on an unprecedented campaign to inspire a new generation—and tell the real story of our industry. . . . Our historic effort, called “Creators Wanted,” is a capital campaign that will support the programs of the Manufacturing Institute—including the STEP Women’s Initiative, youth engagement and Heroes MAKE America, which trains our returning servicemembers for high-paying manufacturing jobs.”

. . . .

“Just yesterday, in his remarks at the World Economic Forum, President Trump touted manufacturing’s growth and success during his presidency. As I’ve said before, from tax reform to regulatory certainty to leveling the playing field, promises made to manufacturers have been promises kept—and the employment and output numbers show it.”

. . . .

“Here’s what I will say about this election . . . It’s not the label next to a candidate’s name—whether an “R,” a “D” or an “I”—that determines whether he or she will be a good president or even a good member of Congress. The test is whether he or she will work to uphold the values that make America exceptional. These are the same four values, the same four pillars, that make our industry’s success possible.”

Timmons also noted the generous contributions made by Vermeer and Pella Corporation to the NAM’s Creators Wanted campaign.

“And I am proud to announce today that Vermeer Corporation, along with your foundation and Mary and Dr. Dale Andringa, have contributed $100,000 to this cause. And another local manufacturer, Pella Corporation, is also leading by example with a $100,000 contribution of their own,” said Timmons.

Vermeer Corporation President and CEO Jason Andringa thanked Timmons for his visit and the NAM’s commitment to ensuring the long-term success of manufacturing in the United States.

“Thank you to Jay Timmons and the National Association of Manufacturers for visiting Vermeer Corporation and recognizing the incredible work of our team members and manufacturers across the country,” said Andringa. “These men and women truly demonstrate the impact our industry makes every day and represent the success of American manufacturing.”

To read the full address, click here.

-NAM-

The National Association of Manufacturers 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 12.8 million men and women, contributes $2.37 trillion to the U.S. economy annually and has the largest economic multiplier of any major sector and accounts for 63% 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 Twitter and Facebook, please visit www.nam.org.

Workforce

USTMA’s Forristall Luke on Changing Youth’s Perception of Manufacturing

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The NAM’s Makers Series is an exclusive interview series featuring creators, innovators and trailblazers in the industry sharing their insights and advice. Each month, we ask founders, executives and leaders of innovative firms what it takes to be a leader for manufacturers and makers in America.

Meet Anne Forristall Luke, President and CEO of the U.S. Tire Manufacturers Association and 2020 Chair of the Council of Manufacturing Associations. In this edition of NAM’s Makers Series, she explains how to change the next generation’s perception of manufacturing.

By 2025, the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute aim to increase the positive perception of modern manufacturing among students and parents by 50%. Learn more about getting involved in Creators Wanted.

Workforce

NAM Joins Ivanka Trump in Push for Manufacturing Workforce Development

Ivanka Trump and Jay Timmons at the FAME launch in Alabama

This week, National Association of Manufacturers President and CEO Jay Timmons joined Advisor to the President Ivanka Trump in Indianapolis for the fourth meeting of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board. The Board—which is chaired by Ivanka Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and includes Timmons as a member—was established to provide advice and recommendations on ways to encourage the private sector and educational institutions to combat the skills gap crisis. Areas of focus include demand-driven education, training and retraining, including through apprenticeships and work-based learning opportunities.

“Ivanka Trump’s support on this critical issue is vital, and we are fortunate to have her as a champion for the nearly 13 million men and women who make things in America,” said Timmons. “Manufacturers expect to need to fill 4.6 million jobs over the next decade, so the stakes could not be higher for our industry. That’s why we are proud to help drive the work of the American Workforce Policy Advisory Board alongside Ivanka Trump and Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, and it is why the NAM and The Manufacturing Institute are leading the Creators Wanted campaign to inspire a new generation to pursue promising modern manufacturing careers.”

Creators Wanted is a national effort, launched by NAM and The Manufacturing Institute, as part of a broader strategy to build the workforce of tomorrow. The campaign aims to cut the skills gap by 600,000 workers by 2025; increase by 25 percent the number of students enrolling in technical and vocational schools; increase by 25 percent the number of students enrolling in apprenticeships and reskilling programs; and raise to 50 percent—from 27 percent—the number of parents who would encourage their children to pursue a career in modern manufacturing.

A key part of Creators Wanted is a mobile manufacturing tour that will travel to at least 20 states, setting up at events such as state fairs, festivals, conventions, schools and gaming competitions. The experience will showcase the multiple pathways into manufacturing careers and provide resources for individuals to take the next steps to become manufacturers, grow in their careers and learn more about the industry.

Ivanka Trump has been active on raising awareness of the many pathways to well-paying and high-skilled manufacturing jobs. In July, Timmons and Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Carolyn Lee joined President Donald Trump and Ivanka Trump to sign the Pledge to America’s Workers, with manufacturers committing to provide training opportunities to 1,186,000 manufacturing workers over the next five years to address the industry’s skills gap crisis. Ivanka Trump also recently attended an event at Alabama Robotics Technology Park in Huntsville, Alabama, to support the NAM’s FAME program—an earn-and-learn apprenticeship that trains students of all ages and backgrounds, from recent high school graduates to experienced manufacturing employees looking to advance their careers. Originally developed and refined by Toyota, stewardship of the FAME program has recently transitioned to The Manufacturing Institute, the workforce and education partner of the National Association of Manufacturers.

“Ivanka Trump knows how critical manufacturers are to the future of this country, and clearly she is deeply invested in the work that they do every day,” said Timmons.

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