With the Aug. 1 issue of Plastics News, and the news of another Rubbermaid plant closing, I thumped.
A thump is not exactly a sigh, it is more of a physical sensation — kind of like a silent downward incremental ratcheting movement of the head, moving a little closer to looking straight down. It only happens one increment at a time, and it usually occurs whenever I read of another plastics-related plant closing, or outsourcing. You know when you spot a fully thumped individual — they have that hanging-from-a-clothes-hanger look — kind of like that late president who was intricately involved in Watergate.
C'mon, you know what I mean. You've thumped.
Well, the Aug. 15 issue brought at least three positive stories that have counteracted at least the same number of thumps.
First, the “Step2's Stock credits workers” story [Page 1] was refreshing, not only for Mr. Stocks' accomplishments, not even for his treatment, concern and obvious respect for his employees. What really grabbed me was, this man “gets it.”
To boil it down, and not take up too much space here, his quote of, “You've got to start at the ground level and learn what's going on” speaks volumes, not only to production workers, engineers and managers, but more importantly to corporations. It seems Mr. Stock's chain of command remained focused, not overly layered, consistent and to the point.
Mr. Stock and Step2 are to be commended for not throwing in the towel, but hanging tough and not moving to cheap foreign labor markets.
Secondly, Bill Bregar's Viewpoint “Plastics work can be lesson in enthusiasm” [Page 6] echoed not only Mr. Stock's story, but other positive goings-on in education.
Finally, the “Rubbermaid invests in Iowa” story [Page 3] was a sliver of good news for a company that has taken a drubbing for the last 15 or so years.
Rubbermaid's history is especially sad, in that it was the plastics giant when I was growing up (and really even until recent times), and its decline mirrors almost exactly the decline of American manufacturing in general — time lines, offshoring, pricing pressures et al.
Persistence, belief in what you are doing and caring about it all does make a difference — as can one un-thumpable man like Wayne Stock.
Spring Hill, Tenn.