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The Manufacturer's Association for the Hudson Valley Since 1910

Workplace Issues

Wage and Benefit Survey 2019 Executive Summery

Twenty-three companies reported data to the 2019 Wage and Benefit Survey conducted by Marist College’s Bureau of Economic Research and School of Management, and, sponsored by the Council of Industry of Southeastern New York and Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions. Highlights of information collected include the following points:

  • In 2019, 12 companies reported wage increases that averaged 2.9% for the management group, 10 companies reported wage increases that averaged 3.0% for the professional group, 12 companies reported wage increases that averaged 3.1% for the administrative/clerical group, 11 reported wage increases that averaged 2.9% for the technical group, 14 companies reported increases averaging 3.1% for the manufacturing/production group, and 11 companies reported increases averaging 3.1% for the sales group. These were in line with the pay increases observed nationally which came in at 3.2%.
  • For 2020, companies reporting planned increases of 3.2% for the management group, 3.0% for the professional group, 2.9% for the administrative/clerical group, 2.9% for the technical group, and 3.1% for the manufacturing/production group and 3.1% for the sales group. Nationally, pay increases for 2018 are projected to be 3.2% to 3.3%.

Sixty-five percent of the participating companies report that they plan on adding employees in 2020 compared to seventy-two percent reporting planned increases in last year’s survey. No survey respondents indicated they had any plans of reducing their workforce in 2020.

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Educators Tour Westchester Manufacturers Magnetic Analysis Corp and Safe Flight

Educators visit MAC

Pictured above: Educators tour Magnetic Analysis Corporation in Elmsford, NY.

Last week the Council of Industry, as part of its ongoing efforts to develop a skilled workforce for Hudson Valley Manufacturers, organized a tour for educators of Westchester County manufacturers.  Partnering with The Workforce Development Institute, Westchester Community College, Southern Westchester BOCES, New York State Senator Shelley Mayer, and Westchester County, we chartered a Coach bus and brought 34 administrators, guidance counselors and teachers to see firsthand the careers and career pathways available to their students in manufacturing.

The tour began at Westchester Community College with a presentation covering both credit and non-credit programs available at the college that teach the skillsets for many of these career pathways. Dean Raymond Houston of Westchester Community College’s School of Mathematics, Science, and Engineering, and Tom Curanovic, Curriculum Chair of Mechanical & Civil Technology at WCC, led a tour of the advanced manufacturing center. This included a CAD lab, a CNC lab (with machines donated by Council of Industry member Fryer Machine,) and the electronics lab, along with a description of the training students receive in these classrooms. There was also some discussion from manufacturers taking part in the tour of the jobs and skills they are looking for when hiring and how the training provided by the college and through apprenticeship programs is beneficial.

After the WCC presentation and tour, the group boarded the bus and set off to their first stop, Safe Flight Instrument Corporation, right next to the Westchester County Airport in White Plains. Safe Flight is a leader in aviation safety and flight performance systems.  The company was founded in 1946 and pioneered the development of Stall Warning and Angle of Attack, Automatic Throttle Systems, Wind Shear Warning, and many other innovations in aircraft instrumentation, flight performance, and control systems for fixed and rotary winged aircraft. As part of the tour, the educators learned more about the company’s history and philosophy. We met with the head of Engineering and learned about the numerous patents the company holds as well as how they test their products right here in Westchester. The tour of the production floor was fascinating for the educators, as they were able to see the CNC machines and machine shop, quality assurance testing, and electronics assembly in action and learn more about the types of jobs that are available in this company and what training is necessary to get started here and the opportunities for growth within the company. Then it was back on the bus and off to our next manufacturer. During the drive, Justin Lukach, President of Mircomold Products in Yonkers, talked about his company, how he got into manufacturing, and some innovative ideas they are trying out at Micromold to increase employee engagement.

After a short ride over to Elmsford, the group disembarked on the tour’s next stop, Magnetic Analysis Corporation, where they manufacture instruments, systems and solutions for nondestructive testing to inspect flaws and defects in tube and pipe, bar, rod, wire, cable, billets, and parts. Their products and testing instruments are used in countless countries and territories, in plants and mills where wire, tubing, bars, and metal parts roll through automatic inspection systems without missing a beat. Here we learned about the history of MAC and why their testing equipment is so important and what skills and background they look for when hiring employees. Greg Gionta, MAC Plant Manager, was also a WCC alumna and a great source of information on the career opportunities available to young people interested in working with their hands.  On the tour, we were treated to a CNC demonstration and watched as parts were readied for assembly in a machine worth over $400,000 headed to the oil and gas industry. Then it was back on the bus and we were off to the next stop, a Con Edison station in Rye.

At our last stop, Con Edison, the group learned about the jobs available in the Energy field and the growth opportunities available depending on your education and training. We heard from several current Con Ed employees about their career paths and how they got where they are today. They emphasized the importance of safety in their field and at Con Edison.

The bus ride back to the Community College featured Evangelo Micas, Assistant Principal for Southern Westchester BOCES, who discussed the programs open to high school students to get started on the path to manufacturing and energy careers. The educators came on the tour hoping to find out more about options for students that may, or may not be, college-bound and they came away with new connections to schools, companies and organizations in their community that are eager to find those same kids and expose them to rewarding career pathways in industry. This event was made possible by funding from The Workforce Development Institute. The Council of Industry looks forward to building these relationships to help develop the manufacturing workforce of the future.

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Has Your Company Complied with the October 9, 2019 Sexual Harassment Prevention Training Deadline?

By: Joel J. Greenwald, Esq., Greenwald Doherty, LLP, Council of Industry Associate Member

A reminder to all employers in New York State, that in addition to updating sexual harassment prevention policies, New York law now (effective this past October 2018) requires all employees working any portion of their time in New York State to be trained on sexual harassment prevention on an annual basis. The first annual deadline is fast approaching on October 9, 2019.

  • The law mandates that the training contains certain specific elements and content.
  • The training must be “interactive.” The training can be (although is not required to be) live. It can also be administered online, but must involve more than simply watching a training video or reading a document without eliciting feedback or interaction.  To be deemed “interactive,” the training can include questions at the end of sections that the employee must answer correctly, can be conducted in-person or live with the presenter “interacting” with the employee by asking and/or answering questions, and/or provide an opportunity for employee feedback.
  • The training must contain a definition and explanation of “sexual harassment,” consistent with guidance provided by New York’s state agencies.
  • The training must provide examples of unlawful sexual harassment.
  • The training must include specific information concerning federal and New York statutes on sexual harassment, and the legal remedies available to victims of sexual harassment.
  • The training must provide information concerning employees’ rights and all available forums (courts, agencies, etc.) for adjudicating complaints.
  • The training must contain information regarding responsibilities of supervisors and information on how to address conduct by supervisors.

 With less than a month left until the October 9th deadline, employers should contact counsel to discuss their options and firm up arrangements for their training if not yet already completed.

Joel J. Greenwald, Esq., is the managing partner of Greenwald Doherty, LLP, an employment and labor law firm, representing management exclusively, and can be reached at (845) 589-9300 or jg@greenwaldllp.com.

 DISCLAIMER:  The foregoing is a summary of the laws discussed above for the purpose of providing a general overview of these laws. These materials are not meant, nor should they be construed, to provide information that is specific to any law(s). The above is not legal advice and you should consult with counsel concerning the applicability of any law to your particular situation.

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Apprenticeship Obstacles – Build your own workforce

Struggling to find the skilled workforce you need to fill your open positions? The Council of Industry launched a New York State Department of Labor Sponsored Apprentice Program in 2017. Since then we have registered over 50 apprentices from more than 15 companies. There are dozens of reasons to consider joining the program including the opportunity to upscale current employees, attract new talents and offer a New York State credential. Other incentives include free online learning from Tooling-U, $2,000 of New York State Tax Credits per apprentice, the opportunity to take classes at local community colleges for free and the support of Council of Industry staff.

There are currently six registered trades in the Council of Industry’s Registered Apprentice Program:  Machinist (CNC)Electro-Mechanical TechnicianMaintenance MechanicQuality Assurance AuditorToolmaker and Industrial Manufacturing Technician. It typically takes two to four years to complete the program. If you are a manufacturing employer or a potential apprentice click here for more information or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at (845) 565-1355 or jhansen@councilofindustry.org to discuss details, requirements and potential opportunities.

However there are a few obstacles whether they are real or perceived. In this mini-podcast Harold King and Johnnieanne Hansen discuss the obstacles of hiring experienced candidates versus building your workforce internally.

 

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What Do Americans Think about Manufacturing—and Its Future?

 

From NAM Input, The National Association of Manufacturers

Do Americans think manufacturing is important? How do they view the technological changes transforming the industry along with the rest of the economy?

Two recent surveys shed light on these important questions. First, a survey conducted by the Brookings Institution asked Americans what they think about manufacturing’s present state. More from the survey summary:

  • “Fifty-eight percent believe manufacturing is very important to the American economy, 14 percent think it is somewhat important, 6 percent feel it is not very important, and 22 percent are unsure.”

However, opinion varied markedly by age group, with younger people seeing manufacturing as less important:

  • “Seventy-one percent of people over the age of 55 believe manufacturing is very important, whereas only 45 percent of those aged 18 to 34 years feel that way. That is a 26 percentage point difference in feelings about the subject between these age groups.”

Now, what about manufacturing’s future? Another survey, by Gallup and Northwestern University, asked Americans, Canadians and Brits whether they thought their countries were prepared for technological change in the “AI age.” From Bloomberg’s writeup:

  • “Just 1 in 4 Americans are confident that the higher education system is doing enough to address the need for career-long learning and retraining.”
  • “Tuition costs are the biggest deterrent, followed by academic programs that aren’t keeping up with an evolving workplace environment, according to the survey.”

These findings underline the importance of The Manufacturing Institute’s mission and the new Creators Wanted Fund that will support significant programming in 2020 to improve industry perceptions as well as expand the Institute’s efforts.

First, too many young people have the wrong image of manufacturing. Many still envision the same sort of factories their grandfathers worked in, instead of the high-tech, stimulating environment it is today. Brookings’ results suggest that manufacturers must do better at showing young people how manufacturing is leading the 21st-century economy—a key mission of the Institute.

Meanwhile, Americans are right to worry that our educational system isn’t prepared for technological change, which will create opportunities as much as disruptions. That’s why the Institute is fundraising for its new $10 million Creators Wanted Fund, which will enable it to increase participation in apprenticeships and other educational programs by 25 percent through 2025. Learn more about the fund and related programming by contacting NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas.

 

The Council of Industry has its own solution, the NYS Registered Apprentice Program is available to individuals with tactical skills and math aptitude. This apprenticeship has two basic elements. The first, On-the-Job Training (OJT), consists of a journey-level, craft person capable and willing to share their experience with an apprentice, in a hands-on manner. The second, Related Instruction (RI), consists of learning more theoretical or knowledge-based aspects of a craft. Applicants must be 18 years or older, eligible to work in the United States and possess a superior work ethic. To be a registered apprentice, an individual must be employed by a participating employer. The apprentice is required to complete a minimum of 18 months up to 4 years of on-the-job training (depending on the position) and 144 hours or required related instruction per year. For more information visit our website or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or call (845) 565 – 1355.

read more »

What Do Americans Think about Manufacturing—and Its Future?

From NAM Input, The National Association of Manufacturers

Do Americans think manufacturing is important? How do they view the technological changes transforming the industry along with the rest of the economy?

Two recent surveys shed light on these important questions. First, a survey conducted by the Brookings Institution asked Americans what they think about manufacturing’s present state. More from the survey summary:

  • “Fifty-eight percent believe manufacturing is very important to the American economy, 14 percent think it is somewhat important, 6 percent feel it is not very important, and 22 percent are unsure.”

However, opinion varied markedly by age group, with younger people seeing manufacturing as less important:

  • “Seventy-one percent of people over the age of 55 believe manufacturing is very important, whereas only 45 percent of those aged 18 to 34 years feel that way. That is a 26 percentage point difference in feelings about the subject between these age groups.”

Now, what about manufacturing’s future? Another survey, by Gallup and Northwestern University, asked Americans, Canadians and Brits whether they thought their countries were prepared for technological change in the “AI age.” From Bloomberg’s writeup:

  • “Just 1 in 4 Americans are confident that the higher education system is doing enough to address the need for career-long learning and retraining.”
  • “Tuition costs are the biggest deterrent, followed by academic programs that aren’t keeping up with an evolving workplace environment, according to the survey.”

These findings underline the importance of The Manufacturing Institute’s mission and the new Creators Wanted Fund that will support significant programming in 2020 to improve industry perceptions as well as expand the Institute’s efforts.

First, too many young people have the wrong image of manufacturing. Many still envision the same sort of factories their grandfathers worked in, instead of the high-tech, stimulating environment it is today. Brookings’ results suggest that manufacturers must do better at showing young people how manufacturing is leading the 21st-century economy—a key mission of the Institute.

Meanwhile, Americans are right to worry that our educational system isn’t prepared for technological change, which will create opportunities as much as disruptions. That’s why the Institute is fundraising for its new $10 million Creators Wanted Fund, which will enable it to increase participation in apprenticeships and other educational programs by 25 percent through 2025. Learn more about the fund and related programming by contacting NAM Vice President of Brand Strategy Chrys Kefalas.

The Council of Industry has its own solution, the NYS Registered Apprentice Program is available to individuals with tactical skills and math aptitude. This apprenticeship has two basic elements. The first, On-the-Job Training (OJT), consists of a journey-level, craft person capable and willing to share their experience with an apprentice, in a hands-on manner. The second, Related Instruction (RI), consists of learning more theoretical or knowledge-based aspects of a craft. Applicants must be 18 years or older, eligible to work in the United States and possess a superior work ethic. To be a registered apprentice, an individual must be employed by a participating employer. The apprentice is required to complete a minimum of 18 months up to 4 years of on-the-job training (depending on the position) and 144 hours or required related instruction per year. For more information visit our website or contact Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org or call (845) 565 – 1355.

read more »

Council of Industry Roundtable with President Williams of New York Federal Reserve Bank

 

 

On Wednesday, July 10, members of the Council of Industry met with John Williams, the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank for a roundtable discussion of issues affecting Hudson Valley Manufacturers. The event was arranged by the Council of Industry and held at MPI, Inc. It was an opportunity for manufacturing leaders to provide insight on issues such as the skills gap, tariffs, trade, and the overall economy. They also shared steps they have taken along with Council of Industry programs to address these issues.

This event was part of the New York Fed’s tour of the Hudson Valley and Albany in an ongoing effort to assess economic conditions in the Federal Reserve. Williams is one of the key policymakers on the Federal Open Markets Committee that meet eight times a year and attempt to influence the U.S. economy. They review economic and financial conditions, determine the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assess the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth. Williams is a career economist with a doctorate in economics and was previously president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Williams began the discussion by asking for an open dialogue about each company’s present obstacles and opportunities so he could get a better understanding and perspective of what New York manufacturers, Hudson Valley ones specifically, are facing.  The current labor shortage was a clear issue that was addressed throughout the discussion. The aging workforce the absence of vocational and technical training makes it a struggle to find experienced workers.

Williams asked what was being done to address these issues and several members volunteered examples of how they are working with the Council of Industry to help find solutions through a wide variety of initiatives including the apprentice program, the Collaborative Recruiting Program, working with local schools and colleges, and using training programs provided by grants in association with the Council of Industry and the Community Colleges.

One member shared his experience with the Council of Industry’s apprentice program and how it is helping him maintain and further develop the talent he currently has within his company. He believes that investing in his employees will encourage them to stay and grow with the company after the completion of the program.  Another member described the relationship his company has cultivated with local P-Tech schools and colleges to find young people with an interest in engineering and manufacturing. There was discussion of technical and supervisory training offered by the Council that members have utilized and how it has been affordable for many of our members because of grant funding provided by the state.

Other topics that were discussed included international trade, the new tariffs, and rare earth materials. There were varying opinions on tariffs and trade. While some members spoke positively about the new tariffs and the hope that it would result in more production within the United States and cut down on intellectual property theft. Others had a slightly different point of view and noted that certain industries rely heavily on the global supply chain, which has been negatively impacted by tariffs. Immigration, especially the H1B Visa program was also discussed.

President Williams thanked the group for their input. The roundtable provided insight on the local economy, business expansion, and workforce development programs in addition to the needs and challenges of advanced manufacturers in the Hudson Valley. While the Federal Reserve Bank cannot address all the challenges discussed, they can leverage their convening power, build connections within the District and utilize their research capabilities to provide support wherever possible.

Council of Industry members that took part in the event included: Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.; Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI, Inc.; Elisha Tropper, Principal and CEO, Cambridge Security Seals, Tim Cunningham, VP Manufacturing, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Julian Stauffer, Chief Operating Officer, PTI – Packaging Technologies & Inspection, Steve Pomeroy, Owner/President, Schatz Bearing Corp., Justin Lukach, President, Micromold Products, Inc., Cedric Glasper, President & CEO, Mechanical Rubber, Neal Johnsen, President, Stanfordville Machines, Steven Efron, CEO, Efco Products, John Yelle, Operations Manager, Pratt & Whitney, Devon Luty, President, Dorsey Metrology, and Diana Tomassetti, President, Pietryka Plastics.

Pictured above: Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI Inc.; John Williams, President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator, Council of Industry; Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.

read more »

Council of Industry Roundtable with President Williams of New York Federal Reserve Bank

On Wednesday, July 10, members of the Council of Industry met with John Williams, the President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank for a roundtable discussion of issues affecting Hudson Valley Manufacturers. The event was arranged by the Council of Industry and held at MPI, Inc. It was an opportunity for manufacturing leaders to provide insight on issues such as the skills gap, tariffs, trade, and the overall economy are impacting their companies. They also shared steps they have taken along with Council of Industry programs to address these issues.

This event was part of the New York Fed’s tour of the Hudson Valley and Albany in an ongoing effort to assess economic conditions in the Federal Reserve. Williams is one of the key policymakers on the Federal Open Markets Committee that meet eight times a year and attempt to influence the U.S. economy. They review economic and financial conditions, determine the appropriate stance of monetary policy, and assess the risks to its long-run goals of price stability and sustainable economic growth. Williams is a career economist with a doctorate in economics and was previously president of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.

Williams began the discussion by asking for an open dialogue about each company’s present obstacles and opportunities so he could get a better understanding and perspective of what New York manufacturers, Hudson Valley ones specifically, are facing.  The current labor shortage was a clear issue that was addressed throughout the discussion. The aging workforce the absence of vocational and technical training makes it a struggle to find experienced workers.

Williams asked what was being done to address these issues and several members volunteered examples of how they are working with the Council of Industry to help find solutions through a wide variety of initiatives including the apprentice program, the Collaborative Recruiting Program, working with local schools and colleges, and using training programs provided by grants in association with the Council of Industry and the Community Colleges.

One member shared his experience with the Council of Industry’s apprentice program and how it is helping him maintain and further develop the talent he currently has within his company. He believes that investing in his employees will encourage them to stay and grow with the company after the completion of the program.  Another member described the relationship his company has cultivated with local P-Tech schools and colleges to find young people with an interest in engineering and manufacturing. There was discussion of technical and supervisory training offered by the Council that members have utilized and how it has been affordable for many of our members because of grant funding provided by the state.

Other topics that were discussed included international trade, the new tariffs, and rare earth materials. There were varying opinions on tariffs and trade. While some members spoke positively about the new tariffs and the hope that it would result in more production within the United States and cut down on intellectual property theft. Others had a slightly different point of view and noted that certain industries rely heavily on the global supply chain, which has been negatively impacted by tariffs. Immigration, especially the H1B Visa program was also discussed.

President Williams thanked the group for their input. The roundtable provided insight on the local economy, business expansion, and workforce development programs in addition to the needs and challenges of advanced manufacturers in the Hudson Valley. While the Federal Reserve Bank cannot address all the challenges discussed, they can leverage their convening power, build connections within the District and utilize their research capabilities to provide support wherever possible.

Council of Industry members that took part in the event included: Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.; Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI, Inc.; Elisha Tropper, Principal and CEO, Cambridge Security Seals, Tim Cunningham, VP Manufacturing, Bell Flavors & Fragrances, Julian Stauffer, Chief Operating Officer, PTI – Packaging Technologies & Inspection, Steve Pomeroy, Owner/President, Schatz Bearing Corp., Justin Lukach, President, Micromold Products, Inc., Cedric Glasper, President & CEO, Mechanical Rubber, Neal Johnsen, President, Stanfordville Machines, Steven Efron, CEO, Efco Products, John Yelle, Operations Manager, Pratt & Whitney, Devon Luty, President, Dorsey Metrology, and Diana Tomassetti, President, Pietryka Plastics.

Pictured above: Fabio Alvarez, CFO, MPI Inc.; John Williams, President of the New York Federal Reserve Bank, Johnnieanne Hansen, Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator, Council of Industry; Bruce Phipps, President, MPI Inc.; Aaron Phipps, VP of Sales & Marketing, MPI, Inc.

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New York Legislature Passes Significant Amendments to the New York Human Rights Law

From Ethan Allen Workforce Solutions, a Council of Industry Associate Member

On June 19, 2019, the New York State Assembly and Senate passed legislation that makes sweeping changes to the New York Human Rights Law. This legislation will have a significant impact on the litigation of discrimination and harassment claims filed with the Division of Human Rights and in court. It is expected that Governor Cuomo will sign the legislation soon. The legislation does not apply retroactively, so only future claims under the Human Rights Law will be affected.

Perhaps most significantly, the legislation broadens the legal definition of “harassment.” Under current law, developed through court decisions, workplace conduct based on a protected characteristic does not constitute actionable harassment unless it is “severe or pervasive.” Under the new legislation, it is an unlawful employment practice for an employer to subject any individual to harassment based on a protected characteristic “regardless of whether such harassment would be considered severe or pervasive under precedent applied to harassment claims.” The new legislation provides that an employer can assert an affirmative defense that “the harassing conduct does not rise above the level of what a reasonable victim of discrimination with the same protected characteristic would consider petty slights or trivial inconveniences.” By eliminating the “severe or pervasive” standard and expanding the definition of harassment to include any type of conduct based on a protected characteristic that rises above the level of “petty slights or trivial inconveniences,” the legislature has lowered the bar considerably for employees alleging workplace harassment. This expanded definition of “harassment” will take effect 60 days after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

It is important to emphasize that this expanded definition of “harassment” is not limited only to sexual harassment. It applies to harassment based on all protected characteristics: age, race, creed, color, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, military status, sex, disability, predisposing genetic characteristics, familial status, marital status, and domestic violence victim status.

The new legislation also weakens an affirmative defense that employers currently have available to them in defending against harassment claims. Under current law, also developed through court decisions, an employer is generally not liable for hostile work environment harassment if the employer can demonstrate that: (1) it took reasonable care to prevent and correct harassing conduct (e.g., by promulgating an anti-harassment policy and complaint procedure, training employees regarding the policy and procedure, promptly investigating complaints, and taking appropriate corrective action); and (2) the employee unreasonably failed to take advantage of the employer’s preventive or corrective opportunities (e.g., by failing to report alleged harassment pursuant to the employer’s procedure). However, the new legislation specifically states: “The fact that such individual did not make a complaint about the harassment to such employer . . . shall not be determinative of whether such employer . . . shall be liable.” This provision will also take effect 60 days after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

The new legislation also expands the definition of “employer” under the Human Rights Law by eliminating the requirement that an entity have at least four employees in order to be covered by the law. Under the new legislation, all employers are covered by the law regardless of how many employees they have. This expanded definition of “employer” will take effect 180 days after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

The new legislation also expands certain prohibitions that were previously applicable only to sexual harassment claims. For example, the new legislation makes it unlawful to insert a non-disclosure provision into a settlement agreement in order to resolve any type of employment discrimination or harassment claim, unless the inclusion of the non-disclosure provision is the complainant’s preference. Mandatory arbitration clauses, which were prohibited last year for sexual harassment claims, will also now be prohibited for all types of employment discrimination and harassment claims. It will also now be an unlawful discriminatory practice for an employer to permit any type of discrimination against non-employees in its workplace (contractors, subcontractors, vendors, consultants, or any other individuals providing services pursuant to a contract in the workplace) based on any protected characteristic. These new prohibitions will take effect 60 days after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

The new legislation also increases the potential financial penalties applicable to employment discrimination claims. Under the amendments, a prevailing complainant in an employment discrimination case against a private employer will be eligible to be awarded punitive damages. In addition, under the new legislation, a prevailing party in an employment discrimination case can recover reasonable attorneys’ fees. Although the assessment of attorneys’ fees against an employer that loses an employment discrimination case appears to be automatic, a prevailing employer can only recover attorneys’ fees from a losing complainant if the employer can show that the action or proceeding filed by the complainant was frivolous. These increased financial penalties will take effect 60 days after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

Finally, for sexual harassment claims only, the new legislation expands the statute of limitations from one year to three years for filing a complaint with the Division of Human Rights. The statute of limitations for filing employment discrimination or harassment claims directly with a court is currently three years, but complainants will also now be able to take advantage of the administrative complaint process for sexual harassment claims for three years after the alleged harassment occurred. This new statute of limitations for filing administrative complaints of sexual harassment will take effect one year after the legislation is signed by Governor Cuomo.

The impact of these changes will be profound and will almost certainly lead to an increase in the number of workplace harassment complaints that are filed. It is more important than ever that employers comply with their obligation to conduct training sessions for their employees regarding appropriate workplace conduct at least annually.

If you have not, yet, planned for Workplace Harassment Training, please contact Jane Sterling at 845-471-1200.

 

 

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10 Steps to Improve and Grow Your Business

Part 1 of 2: Gaining Clarity & Checking Team Alignment

By Tony Fareed, 360accel and Bridge Global Capital Group

Growth is Easier Said Than Done

Over the past three decades, I’ve worked within and with a wide variety of companies to drive business performance improvements and growth acceleration. Regardless of the size, stage, or type of organization, the most common challenge remains, “I’m too busy working in the business to work on the business.”

There are those who think their businesses are running perfectly and don’t need to improve or grow. Maybe they’re right, but this type of thinking goes against my guiding principles. For those of us who recognize the importance of change through improvements and growth, success typically boils down to commitment, prioritization, focus, discipline, action, and leadership. It’s always easier said than done.

Relevant Success Story

When it comes to focus and action, one of my favorite clients is a leading niche provider of live event production and network broadcast solutions. They provide end-to-end audio, video and data solutions to broadcasters of high-profile live events, such as the Super Bowl, US Open, Tony Awards, etc.

In 2017, the CEO began exploring ways to incorporate new technologies into their solutions. He identified a tremendous market opportunity, especially around two specific technologies that were emerging in the market. This strategic thinking refreshed his vision of the company in a rapidly evolving marketplace and was the catalyst for making business improvements and accelerating growth throughout 2018 to now.

His leadership forced discipline and action throughout the entire organization. Behind the scenes, my team assisted with the methodical facilitation of our 10-step growth program. The company has benefited from making performance, organizational and operational improvements; developing new high-margin solutions using new technologies; and divesting from a joint venture that provided limited strategic value. Their efforts have already resulted in an increased and diversified customer base and a 20% increase in EBITDA margins.

 A Roadmap to Get Going

If you want to take steps to improve and grow your business, here’s an achievable 10-step express solution. However, you must be willing to commit at least 3 hours a week for 10 weeks and get some of your key team members involved.

Like anything, it will take ongoing commitment to achieve results. It’s best to focus on making incremental progress, and “don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good.” Once you cycle through the process, you will likely begin incorporating the steps into your normal business routines.

While it’s ideal to have someone independent to help facilitate the process and hold you accountable, you will be able to achieve meaningful results on your own if you stay disciplined. Just keep focused on making progress, not perfection.

Part 1:

Gaining Clarity & Checking Team Alignment

1. Perform 360º Business Self-Assessment

2. Analyze Your Data

3. Analyze Your Market & Competition

4. Refresh / Validate Vision

5. Check Team Alignment

Part 2:

Exploring Opportunities & Taking Action

6. Explore Business Improvements

7. Explore Growth Opportunities

8. Make Decisions & Recalibrate Strategy

9. Reallocate & Secure New Capabilities

10. Communicate, Take Action & Drive Results!

 

  1. Perform 360º Business Self-Assessment

Self-assessments allow for honest self-reflection. Every time you self-assess, you become more empowered with deeper insights. You can easily build a customized self-assessment questionnaire covering 30 to 50 key business criteria.

Email me and I will send you our basic self-assessment template, which will fast-track getting started. https://360accel.com/contact/

  1. Analyze Your Data

If you already perform periodic reviews of data analytics, you are ahead of the game. You have a treasure trove of data in your operating systems (general ledger, ERP, CRM, etc.) and marketing platforms.  Are you putting your data to work?

List the meaningful data and reports that are readily available. Determine the most relevant 15 to 20 key performance indicators (KPIs) covering financial performance, operations, production, sales, and marketing. Your CPA can likely give you guidance on relevant KPIs.  Also, quick Google searches can provide many additional KPIs.

Consider comparing individual KPIs over time to identify potential trends or anomalies. After you crunch and analyze the numbers, summarize your conclusions for each KPI. Eventually, you can turn your data assets into a competitive advantage and tools for making ongoing strategic decisions.

  1. Analyze Your Market & Competition

You may rely on your team to perform periodic market research. I suggest you also do your own research. Drill down on the competition, market trends, and new emerging technologies and business models that may positively or negatively impact your business. Connect with knowledgeable people within your industry to pick their brains and strengthen your network.

Summarize your conclusions (the good, the bad, and the ugly) on the market and your company’s current and expected future market positioning.

  1. Refresh / Validate Vision

After thinking through your conclusions from steps 1 – 3 above, ask yourself whether you’re on the right track. Restate the company’s vision, which will force you to either refresh or validate your broader view of the business. It will also present you with a refined focus on direction.

  1. Check Team Alignment

Now that you have more clarity, it’s time to bring in your inner circle. Select a small group of individuals from your team who you rely on, trust, respect, and who will challenge you. Ask each of them to independently complete the self-assessment questionnaire.

Get the group together to discuss the results of the self-assessments with a goal to align on areas of misalignment. Share your views on vision and conclusions on the KPI and market analyses. This should spark valuable discussions and diverse perspectives. It’s imperative to listen, stay open-minded, digest feedback, and keep all discussions collaborative. Ultimately, you will need your entire team fully aligned to successfully improve and grow. This inner circle is a great place to start.

Stay tuned for “Part 2: Exploring Opportunities & Taking Action.”

 

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EEOC Provides Pay Data Reporting Update

By Laura A. Mitchell, from jacksonlewis.com, Jackson Lewis P.C. is a Council of Industry Associate Member
link to article

The past few weeks have seen a flow of new developments involving the recently reinstated EEO-1 pay data reporting obligations.  And Friday, May 3rd, was no exception.  At the same time EEOC was announcing its decision to collect pay data for 2017 as well as 2018, the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) was filing a Notice of Appeal of Judge Tanya S. Chutkan’s Order reinstating the pay data reporting obligation.

EEOC has, however, posted a notice on its website taking the position the Notice of Appeal does not impact employers’ EEO-1 pay data reporting requirement, stating the following:

On May 3, 2019, the Department of Justice filed a Notice of Appeal in National Women’s Law Center.  The filing of this Notice of Appeal does not stay the district court orders or alter EEO-1 filers’ obligations to submit Component 2 data. EEO-1 filers should begin preparing to submit Component 2 data as described above.

In addition to posting the updated notice on its website, EEOC also filed the first of its required status reports with the Court.  The first of Defendant EEOC’s Report of Steps to Implement the EEO-1 Component 2 Data Collection, filed on May 3, 2019, details, among other things, the initial steps it has taken to comply with the Court’s Order to collect Component 2 (pay data) of the EEO-1 report by September 30, 2019.

As of Friday, EEOC reported it has selected a third party vendor, NORC at the University of Chicago, to develop the reporting tool and detailed how it will work with NORC in the coming weeks.  As part of these efforts, EEOC indicated:

[i]n the next three weeks, the EEOC plans to oversee preparation and planning for the launch
of the NORC email and phone helpdesk to assist filers with questions and concerns about the
collection of Component 2 data for 2017 and 2018. The EEOC anticipates that the helpdesk will
launch sometime in the next three weeks.

EEOC also notified the Court that the long-awaited confirmation of EEOC Commissioner Janet Dhillon may occur as early as next week.  Her nomination has been pending since June 2017.  With Dhillon’s confirmation, EEOC would finally have a quorum with three confirmed Commissioners  Acting Chair Victoria Lipnic and Charlotte Burrows.  Though two vacant seats would still remain.

We will continue to monitor this matter and will provide any updates as they become available.

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A Smarter Way to Safety

From EHS Today By Dave Blanchard

Companies have long turned to technology to drive their productivity, but the dirty-little-secret nobody likes to talk about is that worker safety often takes a back seat to productivity. That trade-off, fortunately, may soon be a thing of the past thanks to a new breed of safety tech. With the emergence of such technologies as robotics, augmented reality, wearable devices and predictive analytics, organizations are discovering that it’s not only possible but preferable to adopt digital technologies that enhance the safety of the workplace.

Some are calling this movement Safety 4.0, a spin-off of Industry 4.0 (aka the Internet of Things). The IoT’s proponents have focused largely on connected devices that can monitor and communicate diagnostic data throughout an entire network, a boon for predictive maintenance on all types of computerized devices, from production machinery to hospital equipment to transportation vehicles. Taking that concept into the safety arena, though, shifts the focus from the machine to the worker. And the possibilities for improving employee safety are limited only by the imagination.

Read the full article at ehstoday.com

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The Council of Industry’s Collaborative Recruiting Program Is Helping Hudson Valley Manufacturers Find the Talent they Need

 

When Johnnieanne Hansen began her role as Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator for the Council of Industry her first priority was to recruit companies to participate in the newly formed Intermediary Apprentice Program. Her first order of business was to visit with member CEO’s and HR professionals to pitch the idea.  What she heard from them, while not completely surprising, did raise some alarm bells in her head and prompted her to rethink her priorities.

“They loved the apprentice idea, they really did.  They recognized that it was one solution to finding the skilled workers they needed.” Ms. Hansen remembers. “But they also said that they did not have the time to think about apprentices or to take on a project like that because they ‘need people now!’  So unless I was walking in with people on my shoulders for them to hire, they had more pressing recruiting problems.”

She prodded them further about how they were recruiting and where they were finding candidates.  As she did so an idea began take shape in her mind that these small and mid-sized manufacturers, all different, yet all a little alike, could pool their resources to market careers with Hudson Valley manufacturers and develop a system to organize and manage candidates.

Thus, in March of 2018 the Collaborative Recruiting Initiative was hatched.

“In my previous positions as a recruiter and corporate trainer I had done some research into Applicant Tracking Systems. It occurred to me that the Council could purchase a subscription and make the service available to participating members.”  Hansen said.  “Hiring managers get a system where they can post jobs, sort and track candidates and get other resources and support throughout the hiring process. Posted jobs are distributed to over 100 job boards like: Indeed, Hotjobs, Monster, Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn and Glassdoor.”

Additionally, all the jobs are listed in one place www.HVMfgJobs.com and a social media marketing campaign is in place to encourage people to visit the site.  The campaign is designed to target individuals most likely to be interested in careers in manufacturing.

“We thought that this might be a valuable tool for our members.  A way to give them some resources that are otherwise not accessible to them, or at least cost probative.” Hansen added.

The program launched in March 2018 with 10 companies posting about 25 jobs. Today 29 participating companies keep roughly 100 jobs posted at any point in time at www.HVMfgJobs.com.  There have been more than 100 positions filled in that time from nearly 5,000 applicants.

“It’s working.” Says Hansen. “Of course it could be better.”  She suggests that more could be done to take advantage of the applicant pool and that marketing the positions and Hudson Valley Manufacturing, in general, could be stronger.   “Every additional company that participates, every additional job that gets posted makes the program stronger,” Hansen said. “We’re good, it’s solid and it will be even better in 12 more months.”

All Council members are welcome to participate in the Collaborative Recruiting Program and its new pricing model will make it easier for any firm to participate. If you want to learn more visit https://careers.councilofindustry.org/manufacturing or email Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org

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Possession Of A Medical Marijuana Card Alone Does Not Prove Marijuana Use, Appeals Court Holds

By Kathryn J. Russo,  Jackson Lewis PC, a Council of Industry Associate Member

The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals refused to dismiss a medical marijuana-using applicant’s disability discrimination claim because he did not state that he actually used marijuana at the time of his interview — even though he provided a copy of his medical marijuana card – and was not subjected to a drug test. Kamakeeaina v. Armstrong Produce, Ltd., 2019 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 50863 (9th Cir. March 22, 2019).

The plaintiff applied for a job as a Receiver/Forklift Operator with Armstrong Produce but was not hired. He alleged that he suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder and depression. After he received a conditional offer of employment, he was advised that he was required to pass an on-site drug test. He disclosed to the Human Resources Director that he was registered under Hawaii’s Medical Cannabis Program and presented a copy of his medical marijuana certification card. The H.R. Director stated that if he tested positive on the drug test, the employment offer would be withdrawn. Plaintiff allegedly stated that he understood that the job offer would be “taken off the table” if he failed the drug test. Subsequently, the job offer was withdrawn even though the drug test was not conducted.

Plaintiff asserted claims of age discrimination and disability discrimination, including the denial of a reasonable accommodation, and the employer moved to dismiss the complaint.

The employer argued that the disability discrimination claim should be dismissed because of Plaintiff’s use of marijuana. The Court denied the motion to dismiss on this basis, given that Plaintiff did not fail a drug test and did not admit to marijuana use. The employer believed that Plaintiff’s acknowledgment that the job offer would be “taken off the table” if he tested positive, constituted an admission that he would test positive on the drug test. But the parties disputed the implications of Plaintiff’s additional statement during the interview that he “wanted to be straight-up from the beginning and if I were to get the job, it’ll be a way easier transition for everyone involved.” The Court concluded that this statement indicated that Plaintiff did ­not think he would fail the drug test. Moreover, no drug test was conducted. There was no evidence, therefore, that Plaintiff actually had used marijuana.

The Court dismissed the failure to accommodate claim because it was not clear what accommodation was sought by Plaintiff. However, the Court gave Plaintiff leave to replead this claim.

The lesson for employers is this: although it may seem reasonable to assume that an applicant who possesses a medical marijuana card actually uses marijuana, the adverse employment action should be based on something more, such as a positive drug test result or an admission of drug use (assuming, of course, that applicable state law does not prohibit discrimination against medical marijuana users).

 

read more »

The Council of Industry’s Collaborative Recruiting Program Is Helping Hudson Valley Manufacturers Find the Talent they Need

When Johnnieanne Hansen began her role as Director of Workforce Development and Apprentice Coordinator for the Council of Industry her first priority was to recruit companies to participate in the newly formed Intermediary Apprentice Program. Her first order of business was to visit with member CEO’s and HR professionals to pitch the idea.  What she heard from them, while not completely surprising, did raise some alarm bells in her head and prompted her to rethink her priorities.

“They loved the apprentice idea, they really did.  They recognized that it was one solution to finding the skilled workers they needed.” Ms. Hansen remembers. “But they also said that they did not have the time to think about apprentices or to take on a project like that because they ‘need people now!’  So unless I was walking in with people on my shoulders for them to hire, they had more pressing recruiting problems.”

She prodded them further about how they were recruiting and where they were finding candidates.  As she did so an idea began take shape in her mind that these small and mid-sized manufacturers, all different, yet all a little alike, could pool their resources to market careers with Hudson Valley manufacturers and develop a system to organize and manage candidates.

Thus, in March of 2018 the Collaborative Recruiting Initiative was hatched.

“In my previous positions as a recruiter and corporate trainer I had done some research into Applicant Tracking Systems. It occurred to me that the Council could purchase a subscription and make the service available to participating members.”  Hansen said.  “Hiring managers get a system where they can post jobs, sort and track candidates and get other resources and support throughout the hiring process. Posted jobs are distributed to over 100 job boards like: Indeed, Hotjobs, Monster, Zip Recruiter, LinkedIn and Glassdoor.”

Additionally, all the jobs are listed in one place www.HVMfgJobs.com and a social media marketing campaign is in place to encourage people to visit the site.  The campaign is designed to target individuals most likely to be interested in careers in manufacturing.

“We thought that this might be a valuable tool for our members.  A way to give them some resources that are otherwise not accessible to them, or at least cost probative.” Hansen added.

The program launched in March 2018 with 10 companies posting about 25 jobs. Today 29 participating companies keep roughly 100 jobs posted at any point in time at www.HVMfgJobs.com.  There have been more than 100 positions filled in that time from nearly 5,000 applicants.

“It’s working.” Says Hansen. “Of course it could be better.”  She suggests that more could be done to take advantage of the applicant pool and that marketing the positions and Hudson Valley Manufacturing, in general, could be stronger.   “Every additional company that participates, every additional job that gets posted makes the program stronger,” Hansen said. “We’re good, it’s solid and it will be even better in 12 more months.”

All Council members are welcome to participate in the Collaborative Recruiting Program and its new pricing model will make it easier for any firm to participate. If you want to learn more visit https://careers.councilofindustry.org/manufacturing or email Johnnieanne Hansen at jhansen@councilofindustry.org

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How Do Vacation and Sick Leave Buy-Back Programs Affect the Calculation of the Regular Rate for Overtime Purposes?

From Bond, Schoeneck & King PLLC, Council of Industry Associate Member
By Theresa E. Rusnak

Employers who provide sick leave and vacation leave time may also have a policy or practice of allowing employees to “sell back” accrued, unused time. Under these “buy-back” programs, the employer will, for a select time period, pay employees for their unused time, in addition to any actual work performed by the employee in that workweek. This then raises the question: do these payments for sick and vacation time have to be counted as part of the employee’s “regular rate” for purposes of computing overtime due during the workweeks in which that time is paid out to the employee?

The U.S. Department of Labor takes the position that under the Fair Labor Standards Act, paid out vacation time does not become part of the regular rate, but paid out sick time does. Under 29 C.F.R. 778.219(a), if an employee “is entitled to a certain sum as holiday or vacation pay, whether he works or not, and receives pay at his customary rate (or higher) in addition for each hour that he works on the holiday or vacation day, the certain sum allocable to holiday or vacation pay is still to be excluded from the regular rate.” Despite this regulation applying to vacation and holiday time buy-back pay, the USDOL takes an opposite view regarding sick leave buy-backs. In 2009, the USDOL released an opinion letter explaining that it viewed sick time buy-back pay as a non-discretionary bonus because of its link to attendance. According to the USDOL, sick leave buy-backs encourage employees “not to use or abuse sick leave, resulting in reduced absenteeism.” Therefore, like attendance bonuses, sick leave buy-back pay must be treated as a non-discretionary bonus and must be included in the regular rate.

Three federal appellate courts have ruled on this issue: the Sixth, Eighth, and Tenth Circuit Courts of Appeals. While the Courts have agreed with the USDOL regarding the exclusion of holiday and vacation leave buy-back pay from the regular rate calculation, they have split on the same issue when it comes to sick leave. The Sixth Circuit, in Featsent v. City of Youngstown, found that the payments for unused sick time could be excluded from the regular rate, solely because these are payments for periods of time during which no work is performed. The Eighth and Tenth Circuits, on the other hand, have agreed with the USDOL and held that sick leave buy-back pay must be calculated into the regular rate. The Tenth Circuit, in Chavez v. City of Albuquerque, found:

The key difference [between sick leave and vacation/holiday leave] lies in the way in which each type of day off operates. A sick day is usually unscheduled or unexpected, and is a burden because the employer must find last minute coverage for the sick employee. In contrast, vacation days are usually scheduled in advance, so their use does not burden the employer in the way that unscheduled absences do. An employee has a duty not to abuse sick days, whereas there is no corresponding duty not to use vacation days. Buying back sick days rewards an employee for consistent and scheduled attendance . . . thus sick leave buy-backs are compensation for additional service or value received by the employer, and are analogous to attendance bonuses.

When sick leave and vacation leave are combined into one “bank” from which days can be bought back, at least one federal court has held that this time is discretionary, and does not need to be counted towards the regular rate. This decision, however, is by no means universally applicable, and it remains an open question as to how other courts would treat this issue.
Read the full article here

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New York City and State Expand Protections for Transgender, Non-Binary, Gender Non-Conforming Workers

From Jackson Lewis PC, Council of Industry Associate Member
By Michelle E. Phillips, Richard I. Greenberg and Christopher M. Repole

GENDA Enacted in New York State

The new NYCHRL rules follow New York State’s enactment of GENDA, which adds “gender identity or expression” as protected categories in the New York State Human Rights Law (NYSHRL). The NYSHRL now defines “gender identity or expression” as “a person’s actual or perceived gender-related identity, appearance, behavior, expression, or other gender-based characteristic regardless of the sex assigned to that person at birth, including but not limited to the status of being transgender.” Under existing protections in the NYSHRL, employers found liable for discrimination may be responsible for back pay and compensatory damages.

Next Steps for Employers

Taken together, these changes in City and State law provide robust protections against discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression. Employers should consider the following to avoid liability under the new rules:
Read the full article here

 

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The Magic Question for a Motivating Manufacturing Work Environment

By Skip Weisman, Workplace Communication Expert, Professional Speaker, Coach

In the 2013 book, “The Enthusiastic Employee,” Sirota Survey Intelligence reported that after extensive research with “8.6 million employees in 412 private, public, and not-for-profit organizations in 160 countries…we find declines in [employee] morale in 9 out of 10 companies after the ‘honeymoon’ period.”

The next line in the book is even more important “It is not just that the novelty wears off; the decline – and its deleterious impact on performance – is a consequence of management practice.”

If employees are not showing up on the job with the right attitude, right motivation, or the right work ethic, it’s not their fault. It is management’s.

Either you hired the wrong person or you hired the right person that has been influenced by an already tarnished work environment.

“For the first 15 years of my tenure if someone had the right technical skills and the right work ethic but they were a curmudgeon, we would look the other way,” said Steve Pomeroy, President of Schatz Bearing in Poughkeepsie.

With unemployment at record lows and with younger generations less inclined toward manufacturing jobs, finding qualified team members is more challenging than ever. For that reason it may be tempting to do what Pomeroy did.

But, Pomeroy recommends against it, “If I could turn back the clock I would have invested more in the people side of things and in creating the right culture. When you get the right people they bring ideas to the table so you don’t have to feel like you have to bring people along.”

The question you may be asking is “how do you create that engaged workforce that contributes ideas to the company and is motivated beyond the job they’re being paid for?”

Surprisingly, the answer is simple.

You ask.

By asking you give your people the one thing that they, and most human beings crave more than anything, even more than more money in their paycheck.

Autonomy!

There are various levels of autonomy in a manufacturing environment and you should look to provide it in as many ways as possible, such as how, when, where and with whom people do their job. Plus, the more input you allow them to provide into the operation the more your people will feel they have autonomy over how things are done.

As soon as you ask the right question you will begin transforming your culture from one that is stagnant to one that is standout.

What is that right question?

Very simply this, “what is getting in your way of doing an even better job?”

The skeptics reading this are going to say the answer will always be “more money.”

That won’t happen as much as you think. Overwhelming research shows that if you are paying a fair, competitive wage with reasonable benefits, money is not the problem.

Research continues to show that employees don’t leave companies they leave their managers. They also leave the work environments those managers create.

The first step in changing your culture is to ask that question. It will instantly show your people that something is different and you want their input.

This will do three things:

  • For the ones with the right attitude they will embrace it and immediately look for ways to improve the company;
  • For the ones that don’t yet have the right attitude, it will provide an outlet to express their need and frustrations allowing you to begin working with them to develop the right attitude, or
  • You will learn quickly who is unable to make the transition to a team player with the right attitudes and you can look to make changes.

The key is setting expectations for how people will show up and engage in the work environment.

“Over the last 15 years,” Pomeroy added, “if you don’t have the right attitude to be on our team we’re going to ask you to turn it around, and we’ll work with you, but at the end of the day we’ve walked away from situations where it wasn’t working.

“It was painful in the short term but long-term it shows our people that we’re trying to create the right environment.”

Here’s the 3A Process that will begin to transform your environment into a highly motivated, engaged place to work:

Step 1: Ask the question “what is getting in your way of doing an even better job?” (you can do this privately one-on-one, or in small group sessions)

Step 2: Absorb the answers and evaluate your response to each.

Step 3: Act.
This means responding to each and every suggestion you hear. Do not allow any of the questions to fall into a black hole.

Answer each with one of four responses:

  • Yes, we can do this, and we will by (insert date).
  • This is a good idea, but the timing isn’t right and here’s why. I give you permission to remind me to look at this again in (insert date/number of months).
  • Give me more information and details and lets look at this deeper.
  • No, this is not something we’ll ever be able to do and that is because (provide a business case answer with as much transparency as possible).

If you’ve never asked for input, or if you have but people saw their ideas go into a black hole, it will take time for people to open up.  Give them that time by continuing to ask and answer whatever comes up.

By working this process you will be giving your team members an opportunity to contribute in ways they never imagined possible, and you’ll get ideas that will truly move your company forward faster than ever.


Skip Weisman is a speaker, author, and business coach working with business owners and their teams to create championship company work environments where employees take ownership of their jobs and help company leaders creating winning workplaces that are more positive, more productive, and even more profitable. Learn more about Skip and his work at www.YourChampionshipCompany.com

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Future plant design links data, operations

Manufacturers are ready to invest in next-gen digital production.

BY DR. KESHAB PANDA, L&T Technology Service, from www.plantengineering.com 

One of the primary elements in the transformation of the manufacturing plants is the changing nature of demand from the customers. There is sturdy economic impetus toward products that are high on precision, safe to use and safely produced, built to purpose, manufactured with less material consumption throughout the value chain, and environment friendly. While presently manufacturing is focused on productivity and performance, the future will be all about precision products. Manufacturers are supposed to accomplish this without compromising on the speed or quality. This leads to some intriguing questions pertaining to plant design. How will the plant of the future be created and managed? How will data be used for production? How will plants be structured over the next decade?

Read the full article

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Manufacturing Alliance to Focus on Workforce and Taxes this Legislative Session

 

The New York State Manufacturing Alliance, of which the Council of Industry is a founding partner, is focusing on two issues of vital importance to manufacturing businesses across the Hudson Valley and the State – Workforce Development and Taxes.

On the Workforce development front, we are advocating for continued support of the P-TECH program, Career and Technical Education programs, and community colleges. Of particular importance to the Alliance is the expansion of the hugely successful Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP).

Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program

In 2016, New York State provided funding for MIAP program in Central New York.  This program was met with great interest by both manufacturers and their employees.  Since 2016, this program has grown from Central New York where there are over 30 companies formally participating in Registered Apprenticeship and 115 apprentices in seven unique occupations plus another 50 anticipated in 2019.

In 2017, the program rolled out to the Hudson Valley (Council of Industry) and the Rochester Region (through Rochester Tooling & Machine Association).  In these 2 regions there are now more than, 75 apprentices at 30 companies, in 10 different trades.

Manufacturers in the Western Southern Tier are now also beginning to participate in the program, and in the Albany region manufacturers are working with the Center for Economic Growth (CEG).  This momentum has motivated the New York City and Long Island areas to also request help in establishing themselves as intermediaries, proving the model is not only effective but expanding, therefore positively impacting the sector and our state’s business and workforce development as a whole.   In fact, we recently enrolled the first company on Long Island, Estee Lauder.

This model with its use of trusted associations as “intermediaries” and its collaborative partnering is a unique model of apprenticeship and is working for small and mid-sized manufacturers.  In traditional training programs, students are trained and seek employment when they are done – in an apprenticeship, a job comes first and training is supplied by an employer.  Industry participants see an increase in productivity, reduced turnover, and increased employee retention. Ultimately, we see it as a technique for improved recruitment and candidate selection. As employers struggle to fill open positions, apprenticeships are an important tool in addressing workforce development needs. MIAP helps manufacturers build effective apprentice programs.

 Given the tremendous success to date, we feel MIAP is a critical tool for continuing to build a skilled workforce throughout New York State.  This program is an essential component of a workforce development strategy to grow a stronger New York State economy through advanced manufacturing.

We are seeking $1.25 million to expand the program across the state.

A 0% Income Tax Rate for All New York Manufactures

The Manufacturers Alliance has also put forward and is seeking support for a 0% income tax rate for all manufacturers to be included in the 2019-2020 State Budget.

In 2014, we were successful in getting included in the final State Budget a reduction in the tax rate for manufacturers incorporated as C-corps.  This single action propelled New York from the bottom ten to the top 10 states for manufacturing and sent a message to large manufacturers, that New York was the place to invest.  It was a proven and effective tool to retain and grow manufacturing jobs across New York State.

However, the vast majority of manufacturers in the Hudson Valley and across New York State are small to medium-sized manufacturers organized as S corps, proprietorships, LLCs and partnerships (pass-through entities).  These small to medium size manufacturers do not currently benefit from the existing zero percent rate and actually pay the 2nd highest income tax rate in the United States.   They are constantly being enticed by other states with friendlier tax climates to move operations and invest there.  These manufacturers are looking to their home state, New York, to demonstrate that they should stay in New York and continue to grow and invest here.

In response to the pleas from our small to medium-size manufacturers, the Manufacturing Research Institute of New York State, commissioned a study to analyze the impact of extending the zero percent corporate franchise tax rate to these small and medium manufacturers.  According to a study by the Beacon Institute in September 2018, “the elimination of the PIT for pass-through manufacturers would increase private sector jobs by 4,660 in the first full-year and by 5,850 in 2023.   It would cause investment to rise by $118 million in 2019 and by $147 million in 2023. The increase in employment and investment would boost real disposable income by $345 million in 2019 and $503 million in 2022”.

Extending a 0% tax rate to small and medium-sized manufacturers would send a strong signal to manufacturers that New York State is not only open for business but making a solid investment in their economic future.

We are working hard, meeting with legislators and administration officials, to get this change included in the 2019-20 State Budget.

read more »

Manufacturing Alliance to Focus on Workforce and Taxes this Legislative Session

The New York State Manufacturing Alliance, of which the Council of Industry is a founding partner, is focusing on two issues of vital importance to manufacturing businesses across the Hudson Valley and the State – Workforce Development and Taxes.

On the Workforce development front, we are advocating for continued support of the P-TECH program, Career and Technical Education programs, and community colleges. Of particular importance to the Alliance is the expansion of the hugely successful Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program (MIAP).

Manufacturers Intermediary Apprenticeship Program

In 2016, New York State provided funding for MIAP program in Central New York.  This program was met with great interest by both manufacturers and their employees.  Since 2016, this program has grown from Central New York where there are over 30 companies formally participating in Registered Apprenticeship and 115 apprentices in seven unique occupations plus another 50 anticipated in 2019.

In 2017, the program rolled out to the Hudson Valley (Council of Industry) and the Rochester Region (through Rochester Tooling & Machine Association).  In these 2 regions there are now more than, 75 apprentices at 30 companies, in 10 different trades.

Manufacturers in the Western Southern Tier are now also beginning to participate in the program, and in the Albany region manufacturers are working with the Center for Economic Growth (CEG).  This momentum has motivated the New York City and Long Island areas to also request help in establishing themselves as intermediaries, proving the model is not only effective but expanding, therefore positively impacting the sector and our state’s business and workforce development as a whole.   In fact, we recently enrolled the first company on Long Island, Estee Lauder.

This model with its use of trusted associations as “intermediaries” and its collaborative partnering is a unique model of apprenticeship and is working for small and mid-sized manufacturers.  In traditional training programs, students are trained and seek employment when they are done – in an apprenticeship, a job comes first and training is supplied by an employer.  Industry participants see an increase in productivity, reduced turnover, and increased employee retention. Ultimately, we see it as a technique for improved recruitment and candidate selection. As employers struggle to fill open positions, apprenticeships are an important tool in addressing workforce development needs. MIAP helps manufacturers build effective apprentice programs.

 Given the tremendous success to date, we feel MIAP is a critical tool for continuing to build a skilled workforce throughout New York State.  This program is an essential component of a workforce development strategy to grow a stronger New York State economy through advanced manufacturing.

We are seeking $1.25 million to expand the program across the state.

A 0% Income Tax Rate for All New York Manufactures

The Manufacturers Alliance has also put forward and is seeking support for a 0% income tax rate for all manufacturers to be included in the 2019-2020 State Budget.

In 2014, we were successful in getting included in the final State Budget a reduction in the tax rate for manufacturers incorporated as C-corps.  This single action propelled New York from the bottom ten to the top 10 states for manufacturing and sent a message to large manufacturers, that New York was the place to invest.  It was a proven and effective tool to retain and grow manufacturing jobs across New York State.

However, the vast majority of manufacturers in the Hudson Valley and across New York State are small to medium-sized manufacturers organized as S corps, proprietorships, LLCs and partnerships (pass-through entities).  These small to medium size manufacturers do not currently benefit from the existing zero percent rate and actually pay the 2nd highest income tax rate in the United States.   They are constantly being enticed by other states with friendlier tax climates to move operations and invest there.  These manufacturers are looking to their home state, New York, to demonstrate that they should stay in New York and continue to grow and invest here.

In response to the pleas from our small to medium-size manufacturers, the Manufacturing Research Institute of New York State, commissioned a study to analyze the impact of extending the zero percent corporate franchise tax rate to these small and medium manufacturers.  According to a study by the Beacon Institute in September 2018, “the elimination of the PIT for pass-through manufacturers would increase private sector jobs by 4,660 in the first full-year and by 5,850 in 2023.   It would cause investment to rise by $118 million in 2019 and by $147 million in 2023. The increase in employment and investment would boost real disposable income by $345 million in 2019 and $503 million in 2022”.

Extending a 0% tax rate to small and medium-sized manufacturers would send a strong signal to manufacturers that New York State is not only open for business but making a solid investment in their economic future.

We are working hard, meeting with legislators and administration officials, to get this change included in the 2019-20 State Budget.

 

 

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Cuomo Unveils Plan to Legalize Recreational Marijuana Use

On January 15th, Gov. Andrew Cuomo revealed the details of proposed Cannabis Regulation and Taxation Act, which would restrict access to anyone under 21, automatically seal marijuana offenses on a person’s criminal record. The proposed legislation would impose three taxes on the adult-use of marijuana, which together would generate roughly $300 million in new revenues for the state by the program’s third year. According to Cuomo counties and large cities would be allowed to “opt out” of the retail industry by passing local laws that prohibit marijuana shops from opening within their jurisdictions.

Revenues from the state taxes would go toward administering a regulated cannabis program; data gathering, monitoring and reporting; a traffic safety committee; small business development and loans; substance abuse, harm reduction and mental health treatment and prevention; public health education and intervention; research on cannabis uses and applications; and program evaluation and improvements.

The bill would create a new Office of Cannabis Management (OCM) that centralizes all the licensing, enforcement and economic development functions into one entity. The OCM would administer all licensing, production, and distribution of cannabis products in the adult-use, industrial and medical cannabis markets.

Read the full article from Timesunion.com, by Bethany Bump (click here for full article)

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State of The State Health-care Roundup

From the NY Torch By Bill Hammond (click here for full article)

Health care was the dog that did not bark at Governor Andrew Cuomo’s combined State of State and budget address on Tuesday.

Given the widespread support for a statewide single-payer plan in the Legislature, and the health coverage expansions recently announced by other Democratic governors and Mayor Bill de Blasio, Cuomo might have been expected to respond with a splashy proposal of his own.

Instead, he called for appointing a commission to study “options for achieving universal access” and report back by December – a clear sign that he has no stomach for tackling the issue in this session.

The commission’s mandate, as described near the bottom of his press release, does not mention the concept of single-payer, which has passed the Assembly in each of the past four years, and enjoys broad support in the Senate’s newly installed Democratic majority:

This review process will consider all options for expanding access to care, including strengthening New York’s commercial insurance market, expanding programs to include populations that are currently ineligible or cannot afford coverage, as well as innovative reimbursement models to improve efficiency and generate savings to support expanded coverage.

Cuomo has said he supports single-payer at the federal level, but thinks a state-only plan – conservatively estimated to require a $139 billion tax hike – is not practical.

Also notably missing from his spending plan was any reform of the notoriously dysfunctional $1.1 billion Indigent Care Pool, which theoretically compensates hospitals for charity care but distributes the money with little rhyme or reason.

The health-related proposals the governor did include in his budget were relatively small-bore, such as requiring certain insurers to cover in vitro fertilization, bolstering an existing mandate for coverage of birth control and reinforcing and expanding the state laws that legalize abortion.

Meanwhile, his administration’s efforts to control Medicaid costs – a success story in his early years as governor – show signs of falling apart.

(click here for full article)

 

 

 

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Join The Recruiting Initiative

The Council of Industry has launched a Collaborative Recruiting Initiative, designed to allow HV Manufacturing companies to work together to promote the manufacturing sector, attract candidates and ultimately pace them into manufacturing jobs. 

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Having Trouble Finding Candidates? Have You Considered Attracting Veterans?

By Guest Blogger Michaela Ryan, Council of Industry Intern

In the manufacturing industry, one of the challenges that we all face is attracting quality candidates. Have you ever thought about trying to reach veterans through your candidate search? Did you know that jobs can be made searchable by MOS code? MOS codes are a specific code used in the military that identifies a particular job. Each MOS code has its own job description. Active members and veterans typically know their MOS code like the back of their hand. Therefore, when a veteran is searching for a civilian job, they know that they have the qualified skills and experience if it aligns with their MOS code. This information is being implemented in various recruitment strategies when trying to attract veterans for job openings.

The Manufacturing Industry aligns nicely with many of these MOS code job descriptions. Much of the work they do is hands-on work with machines, which fits perfectly into the Manufacturing Industry. Finding information on this is simple. When you search “MOS code job search” in Google, MOS translators for civilian jobs are the first links to pop up. For example, MOS code 44E is the code for a Machinist in the Army. A veteran could type “44E” into the MOS translator and it would present a list of job openings that align with their background as a machinist in the Army. It allows veterans to use their gained experiences and skills from the military and put those skills and experiences to use in civilian jobs.

Recruiters, such as yourselves,  can implement MOS code compatibility into your recruitment process by providing applicable MOS codes into your job postings. Multiple MOS codes can align with a single job. You can find a list of MOS codes categorized by military branch, for example, an Army MOS code list and a Marine MOS code list can be found here. There are numerous resources online when trying to figure out which MOS codes could apply to your job openings. This can help veterans find jobs faster that align with their prior experience and it can help you find qualified candidates by reaching a new market. This could open new doors for access to skilled candidates!

The Council of Industry started matching the jobs in our Recruiting Initiative to corresponding MOS codes. We started this to open new doors for our members to try and help solve this problem of finding qualified candidates. All of the applicable jobs will have a list of corresponding MOS code(s) implemented into the job description/posting. This will allow veterans to know that they qualify for that particular job and it will also make the job searchable by MOS code. Anyone can go to our website (Link Here) and search an MOS code and all applicable jobs will appear for candidates to easily apply. Our hope is to reach a broader candidate base for our members, as well as, assist veterans in their job search.

The Council of Industry started this process and implemented a few MOS codes into some applicable jobs already, but we need your help! As you know the jobs and qualifications better than anyone, we encourage you, as our members to follow suit and start thinking about this idea when creating a new job post. You can do this by going to the links above and searching for titles and job descriptions that are most relevant to your openings. Once you do this, you can add those applicable MOS codes into the job description. If you are apart of our Recruiting Initiative and joined iCIMS, once the MOS codes are implemented into the job posting, veterans can go to our website and search for their MOS code. If your job lists their MOS code, it will immediately show up. This will help you reach a new market of qualified candidates, in hope to help with your recruiting process.

Making MOS codes searchable with job openings is a new opportunity for you, as members, to attract veterans. By simply implementing this into your recruiting process, you can increase your likelihood of finding the quality candidate you’ve been looking for. Many other companies within various industries have already started to implement this into their recruitment process and there are a variety of tools readily available to assist in the implementation of this process. If you would like to attract veterans or find a new market of candidates during your recruitment process, this could be what you are looking for. If you have any questions or need help starting this process, feel free to reach out to us! We will be more than happy to help.

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