Support for Essential Workers
This week marks a year since communities around the world and here at home began to lock down in the face of the global pandemic. It felt – and still feels – like everything changed in an instant. But in fact, everything did not change. There were many essential businesses including AirPro that kept producing and serving thanks to the dedication of their essential workers.
Impact of and On Essential Workers
We were essential because our fans and blowers allow other essential producers like food processors, consumer packaged goods, personal protective equipment, and pharmaceuticals to operate. Without us, things could come to a screeching halt – literally. We even had the opportunity to expedite fans for a face mask producer at the height of that shortage in 2020.
While we are grateful for being able to work over the last year, we were certainly impacted by the COVID response just like everyone else. While some office staff could work remotely and meetings went virtual, most of our folks had to be in the factory. Increased stress and exhaustion along with quarantine-induced labor shortages were par for the course. The challenges of child care and sudden homeschooling were real for our staff along with other family and social pressures.
Essential Support Early and Ongoing
By the end of March 2020, it was evident that the pandemic would be a long haul. We’ve said before and will continue to say, that our employees are not just essential workers, co-workers, and co-owners, they’re family. So we wasted no time taking care of them.
We immediately put a shift differential into effect, raising everyone’s hourly rate by $2/hour for time worked during the state of Wisconsin’s shut down from March through May. We also had the good fortune to provide production bonuses in May, and an end-of-year bonus for all.
Our team also had the opportunity to help others during a quickly-orchestrated food drive at the local Rhinelander Area Food Pantry (RAFP) when the shut downs were first implemented. Several other community donations along with a mural to honor local industry encouraged many around us, and it means a lot to us to support our community through good times and bad.
In and Out of the Woods
All of this is in accordance with our overall philosophy and culture since day one: it’s not just about profit, it’s about people. That goes well beyond our factory walls to include our customers, partners, and the broader community. We’re grateful every day for our customers and the support their business enables us to provide. To our customers and partners, thank you! Your choice to do business with us means a lot and has made a big difference in our community this year.
From here in the Northwoods of Wisconsin to the streets of Manhattan and beyond, things are starting to look up. From a pandemic perspective, we might not be all the way out of the woods yet, but from a business perspective, it feels more and more normal every day. Even as we celebrate that progress, we stand ready to support our very own essential workers as we keep fellow producers around the world processing reliably to feed the global supply chain.