For the Sake of US Manufacturing, Shut us Down
by Brenna Nan Schneider
I am the CEO of 99Degrees, a US manufacturing company which employs 150 people in the Merrimack Valley. I am urgently asking our elected and business leaders to shut down all non-essential businesses, mine included, under a shelter in place order. Pause everything for two weeks to prevent this virus from spreading. Pause everything to get enough tests in place so that we, as employers, can make informed decisions for the people who work in our companies.
What we need right now are two things. First, we need the US Senate to pass the bill from the House that guarantees federal funding to provide small business hourly workers two weeks of paid time off. In that way, small businesses and their hard-working hourly workforce do not carry the burden alone. Second, all US Governors need to agree to a policy of shelter place for all schools and non-essential companies.
We have run out of time for indecisive leadership and patchwork plans. Viruses do not recognize city or state lines. We need, and we need urgently, to put in place a unified plan. And if we make a hard decision together, we lessen the risk that many of us will be making impossible decisions for the foreseeable future. I ask for real leadership.
I founded 99Degrees because we need business leadership to create the kind of jobs by which families can support themselves. And right now, my team needs leadership more than anything. They are showing up despite a new shift. They are showing up despite child care challenges during school closures. And so I ask our leadership in Washington, on Beacon Hill, and across the country to show up for them. Make the hard decision now.