Congresswoman Stefanik Holds Roundtable And Tours Essential Manufacturer | WAMC

Congresswoman Stefanik Holds Roundtable And Tours Essential Manufacturer

Jun 2, 2020

Congresswoman Elise Stefanik toured a plastics manufacturing company in Plattsburgh Monday and held a roundtable discussion on the company’s operations and growth during the pandemic.

There’s a good probability that the plastic top on your prescription container, the push-pull cap on your dishwashing soap or the sprinkle lid on your spice container was made in Plattsburgh.  Mold-Rite Plastics specializes in making those plastic closures for containers.

Republican Congresswoman Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st District visited the manufacturing plant on Monday.  Everyone entering the facility was scanned as part of COVID-19 safety procedures.
“Yup, good to go, alright.”

Congresswoman Stefanik and senior Mold-Rite staff headed upstairs to the conference room to discuss the impact of the pandemic on the company. “You were deemed essential at the very start of this pandemic and I was really blown away by the data point that you will have manufactured 4.5 billion bottle caps.”  
 
The company has continued to operate during the pandemic with strict safety procedures. Vice President of Operations Eric Zeisloft says one of the first things they did was install the temperature scanners required to pass through before entering the building.  “We probably took what typically is 10 to 15 different entrances and exits in the plant and condensed them down to three. We’ve instituted the wearing of face coverings. Policies and procedures are in place for additional cleaning of the machines, cleaning of even offices. We have an employee that literally spends all day every day walking around wiping down door knobs. So we’ve really increased our cleaning procedures as well.”

The company is trying hire people but Senior Vice President of Operations Keith Kelble told the Congresswoman they are having trouble trying to fill 25 open positions.  “We suspect some of this has to do with the unemployment benefits. We’re obviously not positive about that but we do know there are people who with the state plus the federal are actually making about 2X what they would make here.  We’ve got good jobs open. You know we understand the meaning of the federal programs are good and we appreciate it’s helping people out because there are lots of people in need. Perhaps one of the side effects of this could be difficulty in hiring.”
Congresswoman Stefanik:  “Yeah the pandemic unemployment assistance, it’s an additional $600, that expires under current law at the end of July. There have been some proposals that were voted on in the House that would extend that to the end of this year. My perspective on that is we want to incentivize people going back to work. I think we should be looking at creative solutions for back to work bonuses.”

Once the roundtable was complete everyone put on hairnets, safety glasses and ear plugs for the tour of the manufacturing floor. There, machines punch caps out of rolls of plastic and deposit thousands of them into boxes for shipment.
Zeisloft: “So this is our tool shop.  We actually make the molds that we’re going to use in production.”
Stefanik:  “I  forgot how big this place was.”

Stefanik said she found the tour very informative as to how a company has adjusted operations during the pandemic.  “I have been here in the past and I wanted to see how they’ve ramped up over the course of the pandemic. Their manufacturing has been critical to ensure that our nation has been able to tackle this pandemic and ultimately beat it. And I also wanted to highlight their best practices as a manufacturer. This has come out in a lot of the conference calls I’ve had with local businesses that they are really proactively updating their operations for the health and safety of their workforce.”

Mold-Rite has over 500 employees and has reported no positive cases of COVID-19.