Cranston, RI, December 21, 2009 Taco, Inc. was highlighted in a widely reported Associated Press story on the recent White House Jobs Summit. The company's successful attempts to avoid laying off any of its workers during the downturn this year was discussed at some length in the article.
The AP article focused on strategies that companies can undertake to create and preserve jobs. The first of four examples cited in the article concerned Taco's experience. Rather than lay off experienced workers during the course of this year, Taco elected to carry out a layoff avoidance strategy called WorkShare, whereby workers worked a day less each week and made up much of the difference in lost salary with unemployment compensation. WorkShare also allowed workers at Taco to keep their benefits intact.
The WorkShare effort affected almost 300 Taco production employees in RI and MA, and was carried out in conjunction with the RI Dept. of Labor & Training and the MA Dept. of Workforce Development. "WorkShare has allowed us to make the best out of a difficult situation," commented Taco's Senior Vice President of Human Resources, Kyle Adamonis. "It makes it possible for us to keep our valued employees and maintain our production, although at the slightly diminished level dictated by our circumstances."
Taco CEO and President John Hazen White, Jr. has long maintained that his workers are his most important obligation, even beyond his customers. "Taco employees are my number one priority," he says, "because they are the key to our success."
RI employers, in addition to Taco, have used WorkShare to avert the equivalent of 5,800 layoffs through October of this year, the AP article stated, adding that 17 states now participate in some version of the program.