Tessy Plastics Corp. is giving $2,000 to each of its 1,000 employees to help offset the financial impact caused by the coronavirus outbreak.
President Roland Beck said he emailed the announcement out about 7:30 a.m. on March 23 and posted it on bulletin boards. The news spread quickly.
"We gave them the letter telling them they would be receiving the check on Thursday [March 26]," Beck said.
The custom injection molder and contract manufacturer is based in Skaneateles, near Syracuse, N.Y. Tessy is a major employer in the area.
"In a manufacturing company you have several people that are living paycheck to paycheck and don't have the means to get through a pandemic like this. So I'm doing it to help those people out," Beck said.
Every employee will receive the money, even ones who are continuing to work. Beck said Tessy will have to lay off about 40 percent of its workforce and focus only on products deemed essential, such as parts that go into medical devices, food packaging and feminine hygiene products.
Beck said Tessy does molding and assembly of parts used in coronavirus testing.
"We already do a lot of work for blood tests, and already make components that are used for testing that will be used for this virus," Beck said. He said the company began making some new, related medical products this past weekend, but he declined to give details.
"Anything that has anything to do with the virus is getting an absolute priority," he said.
New York City is a hot spot for COVID-19. Beck said New York state officials have told businesses to stop conducting non-essential work — and he was thinking to do that, anyway.
"I want to run as leanly as possible," he said. "And I did run something that wasn't absolutely necessary and if somebody got sick [working] in that area, I would feel bad."
Beck said he is advising people to use the $2,000 wisely.
"I hope they're smart with it and save it for when they need it because none of us know how long this will last," he said.
In his letter, he encouraged employees who are fortunate enough to not need the money to help out somebody who does.
"You can't believe how far that's gone," Beck said about six hours after he made the announcement. "I've already heard today that people are going to give their checks to help out other people. It really makes me feel good."
Beck said the cost of the payments totals about $2 million.
Beck and other managers are working in their offices at the family-owned plastics processor. He said the company has shop floor people spaced away from each other and has taken safety precautions.
"That was my first thing. My focus was on the shop floor," he said.
Beck said the employees have a good attitude and are proud to be making products to help out during the pandemic.
"I wish I could've done more, but I have to make sure the company comes out of this," he said.