Changing Workforce / Change Management

Perspective: Hiring younger manufacturers who work to live

By Dan Davis for The Fabricator

Aug 22, 2019

Amerequip Corp., a Kiel, Wis.-based fabricator of end products and components for customers in the agriculture, construction, landscaping, and defense industries, was in desperate need of people in 2018. Amerequip President and CEO Mike VanderZanden told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel last October that the company turned away more than $10 million in business because it simply didn’t have the labor in place to absorb the additional work.

Rob Abfall, Amerequip’s COO, was heavily involved in trying to stabilize the labor situation at the company. Being in the midst of one of the most robust metal fabricating economies in the Midwest and having nearby competitors recruiting their workers, Abfall said he knew the company had to take drastic action. So the company reopened the contract with its union and raised wages. It also got creative with scheduling.

“Our welders approached me and asked if we would consider a weekend shift,” Abfall said. “We had three pretty full shifts at that time, but we decided to try it.”

Now the metal fabricator has two 10-hour shifts, Monday through Thursday, and a weekend shift that runs Friday to Sunday. Employees on the weekend shift work three 12-hour days, but get paid for 40 hours.

Read the full perspective, "Hiring younger manufacturers who work to live," at 

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