Taco Inc. was highlighted in a widely reported Associated Press story on the recent White House Jobs Summit, highlighting the company’s success in avoiding laying off any of its workers during the downturn this year.
The AP article focused on strategies that companies can undertake to create and preserve jobs. The first of four examples cited in the article concerned Taco’s experience. Rather than lay off experienced workers during the course of this year, Taco elected to carry out a layoff avoidance strategy called WorkShare, whereby workers worked a day less each week and made up much of the difference in lost salary with unemployment compensation. WorkShare also allowed workers at Taco to keep their benefits intact.
The WorkShare effort affected almost 300 Taco production employees in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, and was carried out in conjunction with the R.I. Department of Labor & Training and the Mass. Department of Workforce Development.
“WorkShare has allowed us to make the best out of a difficult situation,” commented Kyle Adamonis, Taco’s senior vice president of human resources. “It makes it possible for us to keep our valued employees and maintain our production, although at the slightly diminished level dictated by our circumstances.”
Taco CEO and President John Hazen White Jr. has long maintained that his workers are his most important obligation, even beyond his customers. “Taco employees are my No. 1 priority,” he said, “because they are the key to our success.”
Rhode Island employers, in addition to Taco, have used WorkShare to avert the equivalent of 5,800 layoffs through October 2009, the AP article stated, adding that 17 states now participate in some version of the program.