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Subject:  An article about volunteering--big time
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01/18/2009 10:56 AM  

This is an article that was in todays paper. Change the characters a little and make them members of your HOA,

Chattanooga: Creative jobs keep Komatsu workers on payroll
Brian Lazenby

During the current recession, businesses have cut their work forces to save money, but area companies are developing creative ways to retain their most valuable asset — their employees.

The slowing economy forced Komatsu, a heavy equipment manufacturer on Signal Mountain Road, to halt production, but the company is allowing its hourly workers to perform community service at their regular hourly wage, said Don Russell, senior manager of manufacturing.

“We have experienced some slow times and weak production, and we have struggled over the last couple of years trying to find good employees,” Mr. Russell said. “Once we found those and built our work force up, we don’t want to lose them.”

About 200 Komatsu employees are doing a variety of community service projects in schools across Southeast Tennessee, Northwest Georgia and Northeast Alabama. Some are working for Habitat for Humanity, at an area homeless shelter or on a variety of other projects.

Staff Photo by Allison Kwesell
Gralin Smith, right, and Mark Hancock, both employees at Komatsu, paint a bathroom at the Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts. Komatsu has shut down it's manufacturing operation because of the slow economy, but in order to keep from losing their employess they are allowing them to continue getting paid while performing community service.
Mark Hancock, a Komatsu assembler with 19 years of experience, was one of three employees painting bathrooms Friday at Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts.

“We are thankful they allow us to do this because it costs (Komatsu) a lot of money to have us here,” he said. “When the school system is struggling for money, it is a blessing for them and a blessing for us.”

Mr. Russell said it is a way for the company to give back to a community that has been very supportive of Komatsu.

“I’m not sure how long we will be able to do this, but we are trying to do some good,” he said.

An official with Komatsu said the company spends about $170,000 a week to pay the employees performing community service projects.

Pamela Womack, principal of the school, said she is grateful to have the workers on campus.

“I think this program shows that our community can and will support Hamilton County Schools,” she said. “Even in tough times, a company has chosen to support something as important as education.”

East Tech Design and Manufacturing, an engineering and custom manufacturing firm at 767 River Terminal Road, also has become creative to keep its work force employed.

East Tech President Roger Lane said he has adjusted schedules to allow employees to work a single shift consisting of four 10-hour days during a time of reduced production.

The adjusted schedule is staggered so a certain number of workers are off every day, he said, and it has had the additional benefit of helping East Tech keep its energy costs down.

“It works out really well,” Mr. Lane said. “It is better than laying people off.”


01/18/2009 1:31 PM  
Donna are you snowed in up there? Can't you get out of the house? I can call a snow plow if you want me to. Just kidding.

What a refreshing story you've posted here! With so many people losing their jobs, being laid off, and businesses closing for lack of income it's heart-warming to hear of a company like this! Whatever this company did (financial planning) certainly was well thought out.

I've tried to replace the characters in this story with members of my association. I certainly can't picture anyone here painting bathrooms for someone else--paid or not.

I feel our current board is our associations most valuable asset but I doubt anyone would do diddly-squat to retain any of us.

There you go trying to make me "think" again. So once again I'll have to ask you to explain to me the parallels you see here.


01/18/2009 2:54 PM  

Wello, the first parallel that comes to mind is when you have good employees, you need to keep them even if you have to go outside of the box.

Maybe the second is that costs of the association could be reduced by initiating more volunteerism. Yeah, yeah, I know that we cannot get anyone to do diddley squat but maybe if there wasn't all this big lawyer ta do about liability, or better yet, get rid of the lawyers, then the fear of being sued factor would go away. Or maybe it's just my soft heart thinking instead of my hard head.


01/18/2009 6:48 PM  
Posted By AnnaD2 on 01/18/2009 1:31 PM

I've tried to replace the characters in this story with members of my association. I certainly can't picture anyone here painting bathrooms for someone else--paid or not.

They will when they get hungry.

I got laid off due to the bad economy. If I could keep my salary and paint bathrooms instead of doing what I was doing, I'd sure jump at the chance.
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