From the moment it became clear how significant the COVID-19 crisis would be, OMC has worked around the clock to provide manufacturers with information about keeping workers healthy and preventing the spread of the virus in the workplace, assisted HR professionals in navigating orders issued by the state and federal government, and has pressed Oregon lawmakers to support Coronavirus response measures that would provide immediate relief for the manufacturing industry.
In March, OMC hosted a conference call with manufacturers from around the state to provide industry leaders with an overview of essential workplace guidance from the Centers for Disease Control, as well as social distancing guidelines issued by the state of Oregon. Participants also received a full briefing on state actions taken in response to the crisis up to that date. We’re committed to continuing to provide updates on new orders and guidelines as they are announced.
While OMC is primarily focused on state level policy discussions, we have expanded our services during this time of crisis to provide our members with assistance navigating laws passed by Congress in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, including the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA), which includes the Emergency Paid Sick Leave Act and the Emergency Family and Medical Leave Expansion Act. OMC staff partnered with HR professionals from member companies to share updates and guidance regarding these new regulations before they were signed into law by the President.
When the City of Portland and Governor Kate Brown were considering “shelter-in-place” orders that could have resulted in the closure of countless businesses, including manufacturers, OMC stayed in constant communication with elected leaders to ensure that any orders included an exemption for “essential businesses” like manufacturers. Because of our efforts and the efforts of Governor Brown’s staff to craft a careful “stay at home order,” manufacturers have been allowed to continue operating during this state of emergency.
OMC has also been at the forefront of efforts to secure temporary agency rule changes and legislative action meant to shelter manufacturers from the worst impacts of this crisis. OMC staff recently worked with the Bureau and Labor of Industries to temporarily lift manufacturing overtime caps. Our association has also been calling for delayed implementation of the state’s new corporate activities tax as many businesses face a liquidity crisis amid declining sales. OMC strongly believes that manufacturers should not be forced to pay a new tax at a time when many businesses are struggling just to make payroll and keep the lights on.
We know the COVID-19 crisis has created unprecedented challenges in our state’s manufacturing industry. OMC is here to help. We’ve been fighting for our members and this industry since the virus first arrived and we will continue doing so until long after its gone and through the economic recovery phase of this crisis.