Some local businesses doing well despite pandemic
Many local workers are out of a job due to the coronavirus outbreak, but some are still punching the clock.
“Had to make some changes in how we operate. Overall, we chose to keep running and keep the people working to ensure that folks can feed their families,” Berg Pipe Vice President of Operations Andrew Hicks said.
Hicks said Berg Pipe, a company that manufactures pipes for energy supply companies, has around 260 full-time employees and none of them have been furloughed or laid off during the pandemic.
“We have about 100 people on a shift, we stagger start everybody's shift so they’re not all in the locker room at the same time. They’re not all at the time clocks at the same time. People that can work from home are working from home, instead of coming into the office building,” Hicks said.
Officials with the Bay Economic Development Alliance say many industrial jobs like truck drivers, construction workers, and road builders make up roughly 35 to 40% of our economy and the outbreak hasn’t affected their workflow as much as others.
“Several of them are involved in the energy sector. They may supply to sectors in the national gas or oil industry, the construction industry. Having those essential businesses, those essential manufacturers is why they’re able to stay open,” Bay Economic Development Alliance Vice President Garrett Wright said.
Hicks said about six of their workers are not able to work because they have compromised immune systems. He said those employees are getting paid with sick and vacation time and they still have their benefits.
Hicks said they are seeing less of a demand for their product during the outbreak but that normally happens throughout the year.
He said they’ll switch from two shifts to only one shift until October, which affects contract labor only.