In a sleepy, industrial area south of Seattle, Washington called South Park, a bright light is shining in this dark economy. The third generation owners of Seidelhuber Iron & Bronze Works were faced with the same diminished workload and missing income that hit most of the manufacturing industry in the last few years. But, how they handled that financial stress makes them very, very different.
The company has existed for 104 years and its current president, Heidi Seidelhuber, says the company has a policy of not laying people off unless it absolutely must do so. And even after only two of the last twelve months were profitable, they have not laid off a single employee.
“Many of them would lose their house if they were laid off,” said Seidelhuber about her many employees who bought homes during the housing bubble. She and her husband made sure all of their workers received paychecks and medical benefits rather than a pink slip. This is a rarity in an era of downsizing and massive layoffs.
“We like to keep the same people. We know what their skills are. I’m glad that we don’t have to hire people to ramp up the volume that we have now,” says Seidelhuber.
According to an article in The Seattle Times, “Little Work, But No Layoffs at Iron Works” unemployment is at 50 percent for the 200 Seattle-area members of the Iron Workers Shopmen’s Local 506. Seidelhuber’s employees are fortunate. At this point, Seidelhuber’s is trying to simply minimize losses and, fortunately, work has picked up this June and July.
I’m rooting for this company and wanted to honor their exceptional effort. Their story warmed my heart. Do you know of any companies making similar sacrifices as the economy goes up and down?
Below I’ve included information about what steel and iron workers earn.