COVID-19

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COVID-19

EMPLOYEE UPDATES

7/27/2020 Employee Communication

To All MDI Employees: 

Effective Friday 7/24/2020 Emergency Executive Order 20-81 requires Minnesotans to use face covers in nearly every instance when they are within the interior of a business building.  MDI will abide by the Executive Order 20-81 and has updated our COVID 19 Preparedness Plan accordingly.  There are exceptions to this requirement which we have listed in the plan.  The plan will be posted with highlights to show the most recent changes.  While the plan is intended to focus on how MDI will comply, all areas of the executive order must be met, and the requirements of the executive order will supersede our plan if there are omissions or discrepancies.  We will post the entire Emergency Executive Order 20-81 as well.

Per the executive order, MDI is mandated to enforce the use of face covers and individuals are mandated to follow the order.  Way back on 4/27, I communicated that MDI employees would be issued face covers and would be required to use the face covers at work when social distancing could not be maintained.  The 6' distance between individuals is no longer an acceptable condition for being maskless.  The new requirement is focused on 'being alone' for an acceptable condition for not wearing a mask.  Examples of being alone include working solo in an office, a room, a cubicle with walls that are higher than face level when social distancing is maintained, a vehicle, or the cab of heavy equipment or machinery, or an enclosed work area.  Conditions that we allowed employees to be maskless in the past will now require the use of masks even when we are meeting the social distancing of 6' between people.  Examples of situations that now require masks include more than one person in meeting rooms, offices, hallways, lining up to clock in or out, and lunchrooms (if not in the process of eating or drinking).  Please note that wearing a mask does not eliminate the need to social distance, and employee must maintain 6' separation any time it is possible, even when wearing a mask

Production areas are also subject to the new executive order.  Based on feedback from Operations Managers, we are already compliant with the requirements in nearly every work area of all facilities.  If there is any question regarding an employee's work environment meeting the definition of 'being alone', the Operations Manager at each facility will make the determination.  

MDI has been proactive regarding COVID 19 and in many situations, ahead of the actions taken in the Governor's Executive Orders.  This is true regarding face masks where we implemented face cover requirements three months ago.  These new requirements are more stringent, but well within our capability to be compliant.   We have been fortunate that we are an essential provider to the government and other essential providers, and we have been able to operate through the pandemic.   By all of our employees taking proper precautions while at work and in their personal lives, we can manage through this difficult time and minimize the impact of the virus.  Thank you all for the lifestyle adjustments you have made to keep yourself and all other MDI employees safe.

If you have questions, please ask.  We want to make sure we clarify any areas of concern. 

Work Safe and Stay Safe,

Rod Wood


6/29/2020 

 

To All MDI Employees:

Over the last few weeks the country has been re-opening from the 'Stay at Home" or similar orders in various states.  The reality is that some areas are struggling as the virus has spread at a higher rate than anticipated.  Some states have paused their re-opening plans to try and get a handle on the situation as they set record numbers of cases and hospitalizations.  Luckily, or perhaps based on the diligent efforts by most Minnesotans, the infection rate in Minnesota is dropping.  While very good news, we should not let that lure us into a false sense of security.  If we relax our efforts to reduce and prevent the spread of the virus, we could be next on the list of states reporting a spike in cases.

In order to continue to get the good results in Minnesota and at MDI, we all need to continue to practice the primary behaviors that have proven to reduce the spread of the virus:

  • Social distancing with a minimum of 6 feet when your around people outside of your household
  • Wear a mask when in public places and if social distancing cannot be maintained
  • Wash your hands often and avoid touching your face
  • Sanitize common touch surfaces
  • Avoid crowds, but if you can't, wear a mask
  • Being outdoors when with others is better than being indoors

These practices may be an annoyances, but the small inconvenience has a significant overall benefits to our employees and the community.  Please do what you can to implement these behaviors while at work and in your everyday life.

Now, on to some good news.  The USPS has communicated that they will be issuing a delivery order for 378,000 1257 tubs.  The product will need to be produced and delivered in July, August, and September.  With this additional volume, MDI will be recalling employees in Hibbing currently on furlough.

On Friday we also received a contract to produce MM Blanks for South Texas Lighthouse for the Blind.  The contract is for two years with a one year option and allows MDI to produce blanks when they are needed.  There have been no orders released on this contract at this time.

Work Safe and Stay Safe,

Rod Wood


6/18/2020 - Employee Q & A 

 
1. If our facility gets a positive test can we be coordinating with public health to ensure all employees at the facility receive a test?
We will work with the CDC and/or applicable government agencies to work with employees who had direct exposure to the infected employee to determine what steps should be taken.
 
2. If we are self-disclosing and have to miss work for 7 days, can you apply for unemployment?
Employees are able to apply for unemployment and a determination will be made by the state to determine if you are eligible for the benefit.  This is not determined by MDI.
 
3. Do you have to self-disclose if you go to a store like Walmart or similar stores?
If you are following the governor's guidelines, you do not need to self-disclose.

6/15/2020 

To All MDI Employees: 

As the country reopens, MDI is also taking steps to adjust our COVID 19 Preparedness Plan based on new information and understanding of the risks of the virus.  While these changes are moving towards a more lenient approach, we are not 'out of the woods' yet.  There are places in the US where cases and deaths are on the rise due to 'hot spots'.  These areas are typically linked to large social gatherings or facilities where workers have not or cannot maintain social distancing guidelines.

While MDI has taken a serious approach to limiting the risks and spread of the virus, it ultimately is coming down to each employee taking personal responsibility to follow the guidelines set out by the CDC, MN Health Dept., and MDI.  Each of us must take this responsibility seriously in order to minimize the risk to all of us.  While it is not easy to follow all of these guidelines when we may not be personally and directly impacted, we must be diligent.  Following the guidelines is what has minimized the exposure to each of us so far.  We have had several employees' self-disclose exposure or symptoms that allowed us to take precautionary measures and prevent a potential outbreak at our facilities.  One of the key changes to the Pandemic Plan this week is a formal request that employees voluntarily self-disclose if they have been in a social setting that exceeds the limits set by the governor's executive order.  Disclosing that information will result in isolation away from work, but we are implementing this for the protection of all employees and the welfare of the organization.

Please continue to review the Preparedness Plan for changes as we try to adjust to new information.  We have made modifications based on feedback from the employee training sessions last week.  It is great to see the questions and concerns from employees, because it help us evaluate the plan of action and clarify for everyone.

Work Safe and Stay Safe,

Rod Wood


Updated Prepared COVID-19 Plan - 6/15/2020


6/8/2020 Employee Communication

To All MDI Employees: 

In addition to updates on the COVID 19 situation, we also want to include updates on the protesting and rioting regarding the Minneapolis police incident and subsequent death of George Floyd.

MDI respects the rights of peaceful protests, but does not condone the riots and destruction that have been happening.  We have been monitoring the situation on a daily basis and have evaluated if actions needed to be taken to protect MDI employees and property.  At this time, other than some employees that have not been able to get to work due to bus shutdowns, MDI has not been any direct impact to MDI.  The landlord of our Minneapolis facility has contracted with a security firm to provide on site personnel until further notice. We have not seen the need to take any additional actions for safety and security based on the situation.  

It has come to our attention that the incident and subsequent protest and riots have resulted in some racial comments in our facilities by employees.  This issue is being addressed by Peter McDermott in a letter to all employees.  Please take the time to seriously consider the message and how it might apply to you and your fellow employees at MDI. 

There have been some updates on the COVID 19 Pandemic Plan.  Please review the recent revision.  We have determined that we are also required to have evidence that each employee has been trained on the plan, and we will be asking every employee to sign off on a standard training form that we have covered the plan with you.  The new version of the plan will be posted in all facilities.

Work Safe and Stay Safe,

Rod Wood


6/5/2020

June 5, 2020

MDI Employees,

The pandemic has caused much personal and business stress. And now, following the horrific killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we have all been challenged to personally address the issue of racism in our country, state, families, and communities; including MDI.

It has come to our attention, that there have been some racial comments at two of our facilities, that are considered hurtful or condescending, and will not be tolerated at MDI. While we respect people's rights to differences of opinion; expressing racist comments is offensive, so if so inclined please refrain from doing so. And if you have been offended by other's comments, please respectively relate it to the offender. Further, if it continues, please report it to your supervisor, human resources, or to me. MDI will not compromise on its core value of being respectful.

The word inclusion is the most important word in MDI's mission statement and flows through each of our core values. As we serve people with disabilities, and accept their differences, our employees, with and without disabilities, come from a multiple of races. It is in our nature to embrace individual differences, including race. As stated in our recently published 2019 Annual Report, "MDI is proof that our differences make us stronger - and inclusion makes us better."

Thank you for your part in contributing to the respectful and inclusive environment at MDI.

Respectfully,

Peter McDermott
President & CEO


6/7/2020 Updated COVID-19 plan

 

June 5, 2020

MDI Employees,

The pandemic has caused much personal and business stress. And now, following the horrific killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, we have all been challenged to personally address the issue of racism in our country, state, families, and communities; including MDI. 

It has come to our attention, that there have been some racial comments at two of our facilities, that are considered hurtful or condescending, and will not be tolerated at MDI. While we respect people's rights to differences of opinion; expressing racist comments is offensive, so if so inclined please refrain from doing so. And if you have been offended by other's comments, please respectively relate it to the offender. Further, if it continues, please report it to your supervisor, human resources, or to me. MDI will not compromise on its core value of being respectful.

The word inclusion is the most important word in MDI's mission statement and flows through each of our core values. As we serve people with disabilities, and accept their differences, our employees, with and without disabilities, come from a multiple of races. It is in our nature to embrace individual differences, including race. As stated in our recently published 2019 Annual Report, "MDI is proof that our differences make us stronger - and inclusion makes us better."

Thank you for your part in contributing to the respectful and inclusive environment at MDI.

Respectfully,

Peter McDermott
President & CEO


5/21/2020 - Responses to Employee Questions

 
1. What is the difference between the "Stay at home order" and "Safer at home" order?
 
 The following are changes made by Governor Walz effective Monday, May 18: 
* More retail establishments are allowed to open, with restrictions
* People are able to gather with small groups
* People can leave the house more
* Faith gatherings of 10 or fewer are allowed
* Outdoor sports, with distancing allowed
 
2. What if a significant other that works at a different company (Not MDI) and that significant others co- worker tested positive for Covid?
 
There are no specific protocols established when you have been in contact with someone that has a possible exposure to someone with a positive test.  We would ask that you use your best judgement regarding your risk of infection and reporting to work.  Our current requirement is limited to you having direct exposure to someone known to have COVID-19. In that case you are required to report this to your supervisor and/or a member of the HR team who use the COVID-19 Return to Work Matrix to determine steps to prevent the spread to co-workers.  You can share the specifics of the situation with your supervisor or a member of the HR team to determine the best plan of action for you.

5/18/2020 Employee Communication

To All MDI Employees: 

Here are the highlights from the week regarding the COVID 19 pandemic and actions we are taking.  

Governor Walz has let the 'stay at home' order expire and issued new orders 20-55 and 20-56, 'safer at home'.  These new orders will not have significant impact on MDI operations because MDI has been proactive in our response to the COVID 19 risks.  There is specific language in the orders regarding the safety of employees as it relates to the COVID 19 risks and an employers responsibility to provide a safe work environment.  MDI believes it has fulfilled the safe work environment requirements and will continue to adjust as we move through the pandemic to provide additional protection if needed.  

MDI will be holding our All Employee Meetings this week and encourage employees to ask questions if they are uncertain about any of the information we have presented over the last few months.

Work Safe and Stay Safe,

Rod Wood


5/14/2020 - Employee Q&A's

1. If you get tested and you come back negative, why are you still out for a week? 

Someone who tests negative isn't required to be out of work. The length of time employees should not return to work depends upon the specific circumstances.  We are following the guidelines from the CDC to slow the spread of the virus.  Please check with HR if you have a specific situation to review.  

2. Why report any symptoms if you are just going to get 7 days off unpaid if you are out of PTO? What's to stop people from not saying anything so they can work?

We have always asked employees to follow our values, and in this case it is everyone's responsibility to 'do the right thing'.  It is extremely important that employees report their symptoms accurately so we have the best opportunity to provide a safe work environment for everyone.  At this point, we are not only responsible for our safety, but for everyone we work with.

3. Can furloughed people get the zoom meeting invitation for the All Employee Meeting?

Yes. This information will be sent to employees once the schedule is confirmed.  Their attendance is voluntary and they are not required to attend, but are welcome to view the broadcast and ask questions through the chat feature.

4. I mailed in my check for insurance but it hasn't been cashed yet. Can you make sure they get deposited quicker?

Checks from all locations are tracked and recorded then sent to the Minneapolis location to be processed by Payroll and the Finance.  It can take two weeks, depending upon the timing of when the check is received in the Minneapolis site. If you have specific concerns, please contact your site Human Resources Representative.


5/14/2020
 
Dear Hired Hands Employee -
 
MDI Hired Hands is working to bring employees back to work. Our goal is to balance bringing employees back safely that are able to come back with the work that we have available. However on Monday, May 11, 2020, we received guidance from the Minnesota Department of Human Services with input from the Department of Health that a prevention plan must be put in place prior to services restarting. MDI has a preparedness plan but is working to fill in the gaps for how to best support the Hired Hands employees. 
 
Six employees started back to work on May 4 to assist with our order for the United States Postal Service. Another six will start as early as May 25. As we shared before, individuals are chosen using specific criteria and with input from their teams. 
 
We recommend you check our web page for all communication that has been shared with our MDI employees.  
 
 
We appreciate your patience as we continue to work through balancing our production needs and how we can best keep people safe. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to anyone from the MDI Team.
 
Best Regards -
 
Kyle Erickson
Cohasset Operations Manager
218-256-2336

5/11/2020

To All MDI Employees: 

We want to continue our weekly update on the COVID 19 pandemic highlighting actions we are taking at MDI to minimize the impact to our employees and our communities.

The Grand Rapids facility will be down the week of May 11 due to lack of orders, other than a few people that will be die cutting a large order for pads.

MDI will be holding all employee meetings by Zoom the week of May 18th.  This will be a new process and will allow us to communicate with all facilities and maintain our protocol for traveling and social distancing.

It has been to our advantage to be a supplier of essential products during the 'Stay at Home' order, and be able to keep many employees working.  For the most part, employees on furlough have had other forms of financial support such as unemployment insurance.  We understand that not being able to come to work for long periods of time and / or staying home when not working creates a loss of social interaction.  While this is difficult, we do ask that you continue to do your part and abide by the current policies of the State and MDI.  

This is especially true as we see businesses around us start to open back up, snowbirds returning home from the South, and cabin owners making their way North.  There will be additional potential for the virus to find its way into our areas, and new pathways for it to spread.  We are still seeing the growth of cases in our areas and across Minnesota. With the changes taking place due to spring weather, it is important that everyone remains diligent with the measures introduced by the CDC regarding distancing, group sizes, masks, and hand washing. 

We are doing our best to balance all the variables going on around the pandemic with the safety of our employees.  We have MDI employees' health and safety as a priority. Prevention measures, while not always pleasant, are for all of our protection.  

We encourage you to continue to ask questions and provide feedback.

Work Safe and Stay Safe,

Rod Wood


5/4/2020 - Most recent

 
To All MDI Employees: 
 
We want to continue our weekly update on the COVID 19 pandemic highlighting actions we are taking at MDI to minimize the impact to our employees and our communities.
 
Last week we had an office employee in the Minneapolis facility that has been exposed to a family member with a confirmed case of COVID-19.  The employee will be isolating and working from home per the 'return to work' criteria.
 
We will be extending the waiver on attendance points through the month of May.  You will still need to call in as normal if you are going to unexpectedly miss a scheduled shift.
 
A question was asked if a face shield will be acceptable as a face covering.  While it may add some protection, we don't believe it adds the same level of protection as a mask.  We will evaluate this more, but until further notice, we will not accept a face shield as a replacement where a mask is required. 
 
We are modifying our pandemic plan with several changes.  A revised copy of the plan will be posted in all facilities.
* We are eliminating the recommendation to use an elbow bump for a greeting and recommend no contact at all.  
* We are also extending the criterial for returning to work from one week to two weeks or have a negative test result for COVID 19, if you have been directly exposed to a person that has a confirmed case of COVID-19.  
* An employee that calls in sick for any reason must contact HR and discuss the symptoms to insure symptoms are not consistent with COVID 19 before they return to work.  HR will evaluate and determine the course of action based on the 'return to work' criteria.
 
Human Resources Team Members
* Cohasset - Dawn Renee, (218) 313-1718, dawn.renee@mdi.org
* Grand Rapids - Tina Hageman, (218) 313-1746, tina.hageman@mdi.org
* Hibbing - Mandie Almendinger, (218) 312-1881, mandie.almendinger@mdi.org 
* Minneapolis - Scovia Inimah, (651) 999-8281, scovia.inimah@mdi.org
 
We are entering what is believed to be our peak for Minnesota and how well we maintain our processes will determine the impact to MDI. Even after the peak period, we have a long way to go. 
 
'This is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is perhaps the end of the beginning.'  Winston Churchill
 
Sincerely,
 
Rod Wood

May 1, 2020
 
 
Dear Hired Hands Employee -
 
The health and safety of all of our employees is very important to us. With that in mind, we will continue to have most of our Hired Hands employees remain at home until at least May 18th, as directed by the Governor's most recent extension to the "Stay At Home" order. We will keep you informed as we learn more regarding any future decisions.  
 
Six employees have been brought back to work as of May 4 to assist with our order for the United States Postal Service. Those six were chosen using specific criteria and with input from their teams. 
 
We will continue to reach out on a weekly basis to each of our employees and residential providers. Additionally, we are waiting for direction from the Department of Human Services so we can provide remote/virtual services to you soon.  
 
We recommend you visit the CDC or the Minnesota Department of Health's website for the latest information regarding the COVID19. Additionally, please check our web page for all communication that has been shared with our MDI employees.  
 
 
If you, a guardian, or residential provider has any questions, please feel free to reach out to anyone from the MDI Team.
 
Best Regards -
 
Kyle Erickson
Cohasset Operations Manager
218-256-2336

4/27/2020 Answers to additional employee questions 

 
1) Can we provide our own masks?
a. Yes
 
2) Are bandanas deemed an adequate face cover?
a. Yes, if they are worn so they are effective in reducing the aerosol from the mouth and nose, including during a sneeze or cough.
 
3) Will the $3.50 continue to be applied to our worked hours after this week?
a. There are no plans to continue the recognition premium beyond the original dates.
 
4) Can we continue to start our shift at 6:45am even after all this is over? 
a. Shift start times are facility and department specific.  It will be up to the Operations Managers to determine the best shift start times.
 
5) What is the possibility of having anti-body testing done for MDI employees?
a. Testing for COVID 19 in any form is based on State protocol with health care officials and is beyond the influence and scope of what MDI can supply.
 
6) If I can't get a test due to testing restrictions or a lack of testing, why am I only eligible for 2/3 pay if I am staying home due to symptoms, versus 100% pay with a confirmed test when testing isn't up to me? 
a. This is based on the requirements of the federal sick pay program.  MDI is obligated to follow the legal requirements of the legislation.
 
7) What if I experience shortness of breath and feel claustrophobic wearing a face cover?
a. Anyone that experiences adverse effects from wearing a face cover should talk with their supervisor.  We will make reasonable accommodations where possible such as assignments where you are working in isolation, however the policy does need to be followed for the safety of all employees.
 
8) Can couples (husband/wife sit at the same lunchroom table)?
a. Employees living in the same household that do not practice social distancing at home can be exempt from the social distancing practice at work for each other.  Please take effort to ensure others that observe this are aware of the exemption and why, so they do not take it as an indication that we are relaxing the policy for everyone.
 
9) If an employee volunteered for furlough, when will they be able to come back?
a. We will monitor the schedule to determine when we have enough work to recall employees from furlough.  We will be trying to balance the work available with the number of employees working.  There is no set date, but we are hopeful the available work rebounds soon.  If an employee has volunteered for furlough and would like to be one of the first to return to work, they should let their supervisor or HR know because we will take that into consideration in our planning of the recall process.
 
10) When employees get called back from furlough in Grand Rapids will there be enough work to stay busy?
a. Grand Rapids is the only facility that has been shut down completely due to a lack of work.  We currently have enough inventory to cover the needs of the downstream facilities for a few weeks.  We will monitor the schedule to see if we should stay down for one week or two, allowing the inventory levels to drop.  We will continue to balance the working schedule for employees with the amount of work available.  

4/27/2020 Employee Communication
Face Cover Guidelines during the COVID 19 Pandemic

To All MDI Employees:

We want to continue our weekly update on the COVID 19 pandemic highlighting actions we are taking at MDI to minimize the impact to our employees and our communities.

As a result of the economic slowdown MDI is starting to experience a decrease in orders for plastic products.  Therefore, based on available work, the Grand Rapids production employees have all been put on furlough for at least one week, and possibly two, depending on new incoming orders.  We have enough die cut blanks ready to support the other facilities during this time. 

We are putting plans in place to recall a small group of employees in the Cohasset facility the week of May 4.  The group will include four to six MDI Hired Hands employees along with two to three MDI conversion employees.  The recalled employees will be focused on the production of USPS 1257 totes and are needed to complete the current delivery order over the next few months.

Governor Walz has issued Executive Order 20-40 regarding the controlled reopening of non-essential businesses in manufacturing and office based operations.  The key points of the order are:

  • All workers who can work from home must continue to do so.
  • Business types covered are non-critical exempt businesses in "industrial and manufacturing" or "office-based" businesses.
  • The exemption does NOT include any customer-facing retail environments associated with either industrial/manufacturing or office-based businesses.
  • The business must establish and implement a COVID-19 Preparedness Plan that implements MNOSHA standards and MDH and CDC guidelines around COVID-19 in their specific workplaces.

While MDI is considered an essential business, and is not subject to this order, we will comply with the order including a documented preparedness plan that addresses all the requirements of the order.  In review of the requirements, we are glad to report that MDI has already implemented nearly all the requirements voluntarily, and we have been working on action plans that would bring us into full compliance with the order.  The MDI plan follows a recommended template and will be posted in each facility and on the MDI web site.

The Twin Cities facility did have several employees that were exposed to a person confirmed to have COVID 19.  We did follow the return to work criteria and those employees will be required to isolate for 7 days. 

MDI will be purchasing a stock of face covers to distribute to employees.  Employees are also welcome to make or purchase their own.  Once distributed, we will require everyone to wear a face cover any time they are in close proximity to other people while at work.  The general guidelines are to use the face cover any time you are expecting to be within 6 feet of someone for longer than 30 seconds.  We understand this will be a culture change, but the use of face covers has been effective in reducing the spread of germs, including COVID 19.  Please review the new policy regarding face covers being posted with other COVID related documents.

The upcoming All Employee Meetings are being scheduled for the week of May 18th.  We are considering an alternate method of presenting information to minimize the risk associated with COVID 19.  More information will be shared as we figure this part out.

Please continue to practice the guidelines that have proven to be effective against the spread of COVID 19 including:

  • Washing your hands regularly
  • Social distancing
  • Cover your cough and sneeze
  • Minimize you trips to public places and stay home if possible

We appreciate the great work that the MDI team is doing during these uncertain times.

Sincerely,

Rod Wood


4/27/2020

MDI's COVID-19 Preparedness Plan can be viewed below.


4/27/2020
Face Cover Guidelines during the COVID 19 Pandemic 

To All MDI Employees:

MDI will be purchasing face covers to distribute to employees for use when working at any of the MDI facilities, per the guidelines below. We understand this will be a culture change, but the use of face covers has been effective in reducing the spread of germs, including COVID 19.  We also encourage MDI employees to use face covers in public when social distancing guidelines are not an option.

  • MDI will supply each employee 3 face covers
  • Employees will be responsible for washing the face covers to maintain cleanliness
  • If a face cover becomes worn out, MDI will replace it
  • Employees can purchase additional face covers from MDI at our cost if needed and available
  • Employees can supply their own face covers so long as they are adequate to cover the mouth and nose, and are effective in significantly minimizing the spread of germs due to cough or sneeze
  • Face covers can not have loose ties or material that could become tangled in equipment, creating a safety hazard
  • Employees are required to use a face cover any time they are expecting to be within 6 feet of others for longer than 30 seconds, or are in a crowded environment where social distancing of 6 feet or more is not realistic

4/23/2020 

To All Grand Rapids Operational Employees:

The Grand Rapids facility is currently out pacing the current schedule. As a result, we will be suspending operations from April 26 through May 1st. Based on incoming orders over the next week, we will determine if there is a need for an additional week of furlough. Those team members affected by the furlough will be eligible for unemployment during this time. On May 1st please call (800) 390-8644 and select option one for Grand Rapids. There will be a pre-recorded message stating either to return to work on May 4th or the furlough has been extended for an additional week.

We appreciate the great work that the Grand Rapids team is doing during these uncertain times.

Sincerely,

Todd Witherill


4/20/2020 - Most Recent

To All MDI Employees:

We want to continue our weekly update on the COVID 19 pandemic highlighting actions we are taking at MDI to minimize the impact to our employees and our communities.

Last week we rolled out a recognition premium for MDI employees and this week we are confirming that MDI is extending the recognition premium to contract employees as well.  Our contracting agency partners will include the premium on the employee pay checks.  With just a few exceptions, the recognition program for contract employees is the same as for MDI employees. 

Based on the volume of work available, and the uncertainty of the economy impact due to COVID 19, MDI will not be rolling any contract employees over to MDI employees for the foreseeable future.

Please continue to practice the guidelines that have proven to be effective against the spread of COVID 19 including:

  • Washing your hands regularly
  • Social distancing
  • Cover your cough and sneeze
  • Minimize you trips to public places and stay home if possible

We appreciate the great work that the MDI team is doing during these uncertain times.

Sincerely,

Rod Wood


4/14/2020 Answers to additional employee questions - Most Recent
1. Why aren't contract employees included in the recognition premium?

Contact employees are hired through a contracting agency and are officially employees of the agency.  When the decision to implement a premium was made, MDI had not had a chance to discuss this with the agency and determine if we could agree on a process that would minimize the additional cost MDI pays to the agency based on wages.  MDI is working with the agencies to develop a plan to recognize contact employees.  It is likely that any agreement will be based on contract employees that have been working at MDI since March 1.

2. Will the premium be paid on PTO hours?

No, the premium is only for hours worked.

3. When does the premium get paid out?

The premium will be added to the qualifying non-exempt (hourly) employees hourly rate similar to a shift premium so it will be included in your normal check.  For exempt (salary) employees that qualify, it will be a one time lump sum payment, and will be prorated based on how much time the exempt employee works at a facility and home. 

4. What if an employee wanted to begin furlough today? (4/13/20)

MDI is relatively balanced regarding work load and people on furlough.  Unless workload changes beyond our expectations, we will be holding on any recalls or additional furloughs at this time.  This will need to be managed and changes to the furlough situation will be the decision of Todd Witherill, our Director of Operations. 

5. Does leaving all these people at home mean remaining workers will have to work every weekend to make our postal quota?

No.  We have been working with the USPS to ensure our schedule will meet their needs during this time.  We have been given an extension on the delivery orders and our current production rate, based on straight time, should be sufficient to stay on schedule.

6. Does the premium count if a person is working overtime?

Yes.  For qualifying non-exempt employees, the premium will be included for hours worked over 40 per week.

7. For exempt folks is it going to be on a separate check or is it going to be added to their regular paycheck?

For qualified exempt employees, it will be added to their regular paycheck.

8. If the stay at home order is extended past May 4th will the premium remain in effect?

It is not intended to extend past the current time span defined in the memo.

9)If employees work part time at the facility and part time at home do they get the premium?

  1. We will do our best to apply the premium based on the time spent at the facility.  It is not our intent to add the premium to time worked at home.

10. Is there a plan in place that if our area gets slammed with confirmed COVID cases are we going to beef up security such as taking temperatures of employees as they enter the building?

We are continuing to monitor the situation and are considering additional measures to ensure we maintain a safe work environment.  Taking temperatures of individuals as a precaution does appear to be effective and has been discussed.  We will inform employees at communication meetings if we determine we need to implement this process.


4/13/2020 

To All MDI Employees:

We want to provide an update on the recent changes at the state and federal level with COVID-19 and MDI's support of employees during this difficult time.  

On Wednesday, April 8 Governor Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-33 extending the 'Stay at Home' through May 3 for all Minnesotans.  Based on this order extension and our current workload, employees currently on furlough will not be recalled as early as anticipated.  At this time, we expect that all employees will be recalled from furlough no later than May 4 - with the possible exception of some MDI Hired Hands employees.  Because our current staffing is balanced with the amount of work available, there will not be a need for additional employees to take a furlough at this time. 

In an effort to recognize employees who are required to report to work at one of our four facilities during the extended order, MDI will provide a one-time temporary incentive premium for eligible MDI employees during the period of April 13 through May 1. Contract employees and employees working from home are not eligible for this premium.  The provisions are as follows:

  • MDI employees in non-exempt positions that are required to report to work at one of our four facilities will be paid a $3.50 per hour premium above their current hourly pay rate for hours worked April 13 through May 1
  • MDI employees in exempt positions who are required to report to work at one of our four facilities will be paid an equivalent amount for the April 13 through May 1 timeframe, which will be included on the May 15 paycheck

Based on changing events, we will continue to evaluate and determine if additional action is needed on the part of MDI to minimize the spread of the COVID-19 virus and the impact to employees.  

If you have any questions about your situation, please discuss directly with your facility's Human Resources or Employment Services team member.

Human Resources Team Members

Thank you for your contributions to making MDI a safe and successful organization.  We're in this together.

Sincerely,

Rod Wood


4/10/2020

Dear Hired Hands Employee -

To help the State continue to build prevention and treatment capacity for our fight against Covid 19, Governor Tim Walz has extended the "Stay at Home" directive to May 4, 2020.

In support of the "Stay at Home" order from Governor Walz and for the health and safety of our Hired Hands employees we will continue to have all Hired Hands employees remain at home until May 4th.  The goal is to continue to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe. We will keep you informed as we learn more regarding any future decisions. 

MDI will continue to use the PTO that each employee has accrued through this time, unless you contact us with different instructions. We have also reached out to the local Social Security Administration office in Hibbing and informed them of the stoppage of work for the Hired Hands employees.  If you wish to not utilize your PTO please contact Kelli Petersen at 218-313-1766.

Our employees' health and safety is important to us and we appreciate your patience and understanding.  We recommend you visit the CDC or the Minnesota Department of Health's website for the latest information regarding the COVID19.

In addition, a web page has been created for communication purposes to our MDI stakeholders (see below).  We will also reach out on a weekly basis to residential providers and employees to inform them of any other additional information as we are currently operating in an ever changing world.  https://www.mdi.org/covid-19

If you, a guardian, or residential provider has any questions, please feel free to reach out to anyone from the MDI team.

Best Regards -

Kyle Erickson
Cohasset Operations Manager  
218-256-2336


4/6/2020 Answers to additional employee questions

1. Why are not all employees who are capable of working from home, working from home?  This would help stop the spread by reducing amount of people in our facility.  The Federal and State governments are doing this and recommending this, why isn't MDI requiring all that can, to do so?

Each manager has been tasked with identifying who can work from home and who can't.  It is the manager's discretion, based on many factors, to make the determination who can work from home.  Our goal is that anyone that can effectively work from home would be doing so.

2. When parts are needed, can we have these delivered and no longer allow for employees to go pick up during work hours??

We should be working with our vendors to minimize interaction.  If delivery of parts is available, we should consider it as an alternative.  Some vendors are implementing curbside pick-up which would also support the limited interaction.

3. Someone heard on the news that the Post office is losing money and the workers are threatening to quit due to the hazards of handling mail and that they are running out of money.  Is this true?

We can't speculate on what is happening with the postal workers, but it is no secret that the USPS has been losing money every year for some time now.  


4/6/2020

Message from Peter McDermott

  • Thank you for your cooperation during this pandemic
  • Safety first - everyone has to make decisions based on their particular situation
  • Financial assistance from the Federal and State Government may be available
  • HR and ES support to determine if there are leave or financial benefits available for you
  • This will most likely be the new normal for the foreseeable future, so again thank you for your ongoing trust and patience as we all navigate this situation together

Bending the Curve

  • The CDC projections indicate that the 'stay at home' orders are not to prevent people from ever being exposed and contracting the virus, but to allow our health care system to address the viral spread over a longer period of time and not be overwhelmed
  • Short of a vaccine, there is a high probability that most people will eventually become infected, but if we can slow the spread, everyone can get the appropriate medical care and reduce the impact of the virus
  • The MDI facilities in Northern Minnesota may be weeks behind the peak impact to the rest of the US due to the remote location and the timely issuing of the 'stay at home' order by the governor, and we can't relax our efforts

Face Coverings

  • Face coverings are being recommended by prominent doctors -they are not considered PPE, but will minimize aerosol from nose and mouth to prevent germ spread
  • We would support the voluntary use of face coverings at MDI
  • Employees can make their own coverings if they want to do so
  • MDI is considering supplying washable face covering depending on future recommendations from the CDC

COVID 19 Recovery Plan- What to do if an employee has a positive test

  • Plan is posted and available in case of an event
  • May be modified based on new information

Continue with hygiene efforts including

  • Hand washing
  • Social distancing
  • Stay home as much as possible and reduce trips to stores
  • Cover coughs and sneezes
  • Use face covers when in public 

4/3/2020

Dear MDI Employees and Family Members,

I want to take this opportunity to say thank you, and express how much MDI appreciates you. This has been time of unparalleled changes in our communities as a result of COVID-19. MDI will continue to support you in any way we can and give you the opportunity to determine what is best for you and your family.

While MDI has been designated an essential supplier to the USPS, and many of our customers, your safety and wellbeing is first and foremost in our minds. Therefore, while many employees continue to work, some employees are staying at home and some have been asked to work from home. Whichever, we are dependent upon each other to remain safe as we are challenged to continue to provide essential goods and services to our customers.

We want each of our employees to be able to make the best decisions for themselves and their families. As such, we remain committed to:

  • Safety -We continue to follow national Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Minnesota Department of Health guidelines regarding health and safety, including cleaning touchpoints, emphasizing social distance and more. We will continue to ask you to stay home if you are sick or exhibiting symptoms.
  • Financial Support - We are all learning and will work with you to understand what financial supports are available regarding unemployment benefits and the provisions of the new federal Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). If you are a contract employee, please reach out to your agency contact. MDI employees please reach out to a member of the Human Resource team member as follows.

Cohasset - Dawn Renee, (218) 313-1718, dawn.renee@mdi.org
Grand Rapids - Tina Hageman, (218) 313-1746, tina.hageman@mdi.org
Hibbing - Mandie Almendinger, (218) 312-1881, mandie.almendinger@mdi.org
Minneapolis - Scovia Inimah, (651) 999-8281, scovia.inimah@mdi.org

We are determined to follow through on our commitments to each other and our customers. We will do our best to keep you up-to-date on any changes and ask that you communicate with your supervisor regarding your ability to report to work.

Going forward, please check MDI website (www.mdi.org/COVID-19) for the latest updates including questions raised by employees and the answers provided. This way we can continue to keep you informed as we make decisions to support your health and safety.

Note this will be the new normal for the foreseeable future, so again thank you for your ongoing trust and patience as we all navigate this situation together.

Please be safe and take care,

Peter McDermott
President & CEO


4/1/2020
We want to make employees aware of the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA) that is effective April 1, 2020. This provides employees with sick leave benefits for COVID-19 related reasons. Please contact a member of the Human Resources team for more information. Download the image below here.


3/31/2020
Following Governor Walz "Stay at Home" order last Wednesday, all MDI employees still working were given the option of not working for COVID-19 related reasons.  This was done in small group meetings and written communications.  As of March 31, 114 employees are not working for COVID-19 related reasons. This includes the Hired Hands employees that are referrals from county case managers that have been not working since March 18.  Total employment count currently is 365 of which 31% are not working.  

As an essential provider of services and products to the United States Postal Service and many others, MDI is continuing to operate its four facilities in Minneapolis, Hibbing, Cohasset and Grand Rapids.  MDI will continue to keep our employees and the community health and well-being foremost in our minds and actions. Updates will continue to be posted on this site. Thank you all for your support in this most difficult time.


3/31/2020 Answers to additional employee questions

1. If someone from MDI gets the virus, will the employees be notified and how will it be handled in each plant?

MDI will notify employees if a co-worker tests positive for COVID 19, however we will not state who it is.  We developed a 'COVID 19 Recovery Plan' similar to other recovery plans we have to address events that could take place within one of our facilities like fire and weather related disasters.  Because some of the CDC recommendations are evolving, this document will be updated as we move through this pandemic to reflect the most recent recommendations.  We will post the recovery plan this week.

2. Since some companies are implementing hazard pay to work during this time can we get some extra PTO for working during this essential work?

There are additional risks for people in positions dealing directly with the public.  The steps that are being taken by the Stay at Home order are attempting to mitigate an unmanageable impact the US healthcare system.  By limiting your exposure to only work and home, the risk of contracting COVID 19 is dramatically reduced, thus reducing the surge of patients being treated at medical facilities.  Due to the Stay at Home order, numerous companies are in mandatory shutdown and employees do not have an option to work  As an essential supplier, MDI has avoided this situation and  employees have the option to work in a relatively safe environment - where we don't deal with the public, or to take time off due to COVID-19 related reasons.  MDI will be implementing the Families First Coronavirus Act (FFCRA) regarding sick pay and FML, but we are not planning to modify PTO benefits as a result of the COVID 19 pandemic.

3. If there is a high spike in our area of confirmed COVID cases will we continue to work?

Our current plan of action is to continue to work through the 'Stay at Home' order by the governor based on our designation as an essential supplier.  We will continue to monitor the situation and as events change, keeping the safety of our employees as a top concern.

4. Is there going to be a better process for communication to avoid conflicting information via emails?

We are working hard to keep on top of everchanging information during this time. We will keep communication a priority and make corrections and modifications as soon as we become aware.  If you are aware of conflicting information, please bring it to our attention so we can address it as soon as possible.

5. How are we handling employees that call in sick whether they have the COVID symptoms or the regular flu or other sickness?  How are they cleared to come back to work, what is the process.

We are using guidelines by the CDC regarding employees that have symptoms of COVID 19.  Keep in mind there may be other alternatives that are not listed below that may be available such as a furlough or FMLA in some situations.  Please check with HR regarding your specific situation. The chart in the communication below notes specific dates and situations.


3/26/2020

To All Employees:

Today Governor Walz issued Emergency Executive Order 20-20 directing Minnesotans to 'Stay at Home' effective midnight on Friday, March 27 through April 10.  The goal of the order is to slow the spread of the COVID 19 virus to prevent our health care system from being overwhelmed with patients needing care.  MDI is in support of Governor Walz's actions.  That being the case, MDI has been identified as an essential supplier to the USPS and many commercial businesses needed to maintain the county's infrastructure and essential services to the public. 

As an essential provider of services and products, MDI is required to continue operations during the 'Stay at Home' order and allow employees the opportunity to work.  We encourage you to continue to work if you do not have any underlying conditions that would put you or your fellow employees at risk. We do understand that as individual employees, you may have concerns and we respect your decision if you choose not to report to work. 

If you choose to continue to work your shifts as normal, you do not need to do anything different than you are currently.

If you would like to take a furlough, you will need to notify your supervisor that you will be taking a furlough.  Those that should consider taking a furlough include anyone that has underlying health conditions or anyone living with someone with underlying health conditions. Based upon available information to date, those at high-risk for severe illness from COVID-19 includes:

  • People aged 65 years and older
  • People who live in a nursing home or long-term care facility
  • Other high-risk conditions could include:
    • People with chronic lung disease or moderate to severe asthma
    • People who have heart disease with complications
    • People who are immunocompromised including cancer treatment
    • People of any age with severe obesity (body mass index [(BM]I)?40) or certain underlying medical conditions, particularly if not well controlled, such as those with diabetes, renal failure, or liver disease might also be at risk
  • People who are pregnant should be monitored since they are known to be at risk with severe viral illness, however, to date data on COVID-19 has not shown increased risk

Below are some additional details you should know regarding a furlough:

  • If you file for unemployment, MDI will not contest your application. While we believe that you will qualify for unemployment benefits under the laws recently passed to address the COVID 19 impact, your approval is strictly up to the State of Minnesota and MDI can not guarantee unemployment benefits. It is also very probable that there will be a delay before you get your unemployment checks if you are approved.

  • If you participate in healthcare benefits at MDI, we will ensure that they do not lapse while you are on furlough, but you will need to reimburse the costs once you return to work.

Whether you continue to work or take a furlough, it is important that you do everything possible to prevent the spread of the virus in our community.   Please continue to adhere to the general guidelines below:

  • Frequent hand washing throughout the workday, beginning upon arrival to work; prior to eating, breaks and when leaving MDI.
  • No handshaking.
  • Maintain adequate personal space between co-workers - current recommendations are 6+ ft.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of tissue in the trash, wash hands or use hand sanitizer if available.
  • Disinfect frequently touched objects such as common keyboards and control panels on equipment.

In addition, benefits may be available under the new Families First Coronavirus Response Act beginning April 1.  We will provide information in the next few days.

MDI has created a web page that will include all the employee memos regarding the COVID 19.  You can access that page at www.mdi.org/covid-19

If you have any questions, please ask.  Our environment and conditions are changing rapidly and we are working daily to insure we are meeting your needs as well as the needs of the community and our customers.  


3/26/2020

Dear Hired Hands Employee -

The COVID19 virus continues to spread throughout the United States. Governor Tim Walz has ordered a "Stay at Home" directive to help the State prepare for the significant increase of cases that is expected to impact the state in the coming weeks and months.

In support of the "Stay at Home" order from Governor Walz and for the health and safety of our Hired Hands employees we will continue to have all Hired Hands employees remain at home through April 10th.  As stated by the Governor on March 25, the goal is to keep our most vulnerable citizens safe and to hopefully extend the time to prepare for the increased number of Covid 19 cases.  We will continue to keep you informed as we learn more regarding any future decisions. 

MDI will use the PTO that each employee has accrued through this time and if any employees run out of PTO they can apply for Unemployment Insurance through the State of Minnesota, Department of Employment and Economic Development.

Our employees' health and safety is important to us. We truly appreciate your patience and understanding during this challenging time.  We recommend you visit the CDC or the Minnesota Department of Health's website for the latest information regarding the COVID19 outbreak.

If you, a guardian, or residential provider has any questions, please feel free to reach out to anyone from the MDI Team.

Best Regards -

Kyle Erickson
Cohasset Operations Manager   218-256-2336


3/26/2020 Answers to additional employee questions

1 . Is HR working from home or will they be in the office at each location?

HR representatives will be on site 1-2 days per week and working remotely the remainder of the time. They can be reached via their phone extension or email.

2. What if there are not enough people on a particular shift, do we shut down extruders etc. for that shift?

During this uncertain time, we will need to rely on the operations managers and supervisors to manage the shifts based on staff and priorities.  It is possible that the supervisor will need to shut down equipment based on staffing.

3. Is there going to be proof for when the employees travel to and from work to show authorities if they get pulled over?

Yes, letters are being provided for employees that are working.

4. If you go on unemployment and the restrictions are lifted do you have to re-apply for your job?

No.  We will be treating this as a furlough, meaning that we fully expect you to return to work once we are able to resume normal operations.  Timing of return to work may not follow the exact dates of the 'stay at home' order and can be dependent on other factors related to COVID 19.

5. Can you ask to be on furlough the second week into this?

We understand that responsibilities, emotions and concerns change as events develop.  As long as we remain in a national emergency state, we will honor our commitment to allow employees the option of not working.  As we move though this, the options of staying home could change from furlough to others such as Personal Leave of Absents.  At this time, we consider this a furlough. Be sure to let your supervisor know if you wish to receive PTO pay during the time you off.  We will allow employees to maintain a PTO balance of up to their annual accrual rate.

6. When can I collect unemployment?

You can file for unemployment as soon as you are not able to work due to COVID 19. This can be done on-line at https://www.uimn.org. The determination of eligibility is done by the state of Minnesota and MDI cannot guarantee unemployment benefits.  


 3/23/2020 UPDATE ON CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

Our primary focus continues to be on the health and wellbeing of MDI employees. We are in this together and we will keep you updated as we adapt to the impact of COVID-19. At this time, some employees are staying home from each facility due to fever or feeling ill and no one has requested testing at this time. MDI HH employees in CO that are referrals from county case managers are not reporting to work through March 27.

We continue to monitor the changing landscape and requirements on a national and state level. As we have seen in other states, it is possible that Minnesota Governor Tim Walz may issue an order to all Minnesotans to 'shelter in place'. We will react accordingly - where we are legally obligated to do so. MDI received documentation from the USPS that we are designated as an essential suppler to the federal government for our totes and trays, therefore tote and tray production would not be subject to a 'shelter in place' order. This means we are required to continue production of these products. It is possible that we would ask for relief from the USPS via a contract extension, if we felt significant health risks were imminent by continuing to operate during a state 'shelter in place' order. Several of our commercial products and services may fall into the same category.

The following are helpful information and reminders for employees at this time.

We need to continue to practice healthy habits to slow the spread of the virus including:

  • Clean/wash hands for at least 20 seconds
  • Clean/disinfect frequently used surfaces
  • Maintain social distancing of 6 feet
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home if you are sick or have flu-like symptoms and call your healthcare provider

MDI has developed actions to address the COVID-19 pandemic.

These include:

  • If travelling, employees are required to complete questionnaire and protocols before returning to work.
  • If an employee has been exposed to someone with the virus or test positive for the virus, notify your supervisor or Human Resources immediately.
  • If an employee tests positive and has been at work, MDI will notify impacted coworkers via contact information provided by employees. MDI will take appropriate action to disinfect the facility prior to employees returning to work.

In addition, the following Isolation and Return to Work Guidelines will be followed per CDC Guidelines and current Pandemic Pay Plan. Employee travels to area of high community spread or outside the US

3 days isolation from work upon return

Use PTO or unpaid time off unless able to work from home

Employee travels to country or region with widespread ongoing transmission of COVID-19 at

CDC Level 3. Refer to CDC website

14 days isolation from work upon return. Monitor health, do not leave home for any reason other than seeking health care

Use PTO or unpaid time off unless able to work from home

Employee exposed to someone known to have COVID-19 and employee presents no symptoms

7 days isolation from date of exposure

Use PTO or unpaid time off unless able to work from home

Employee presents COVID-19 symptoms or fever over 100 and has not tested positive for COVID19

Isolation for 7 days from first onset of symptoms or 3 days symptom-free whichever is longer

Use PTO or unpaid time off unless able to work from home

Employee tests positive for COVID-19

Stay home for a minimum of 14 days plus symptom-free for 3 days

Two weeks COVID-19 sick pay

While we cannot tell you to stay home when not working, we are asking you to do so. The fewer people that are out and about our communities, the less opportunity the virus has to spread. We know these disruptions to our normal lives can be challenging. Resources are available through MDI's EAP al 1-800- 626-7944 or www.liveandworkwell.com using access code "medica". In addition, MDI ordered a special cleaner which will be used to periodically sanitize facilities and if there is a confirmed case of the virus. The estimated delivery date is mid-April. We have all required PPE to safely use the cleaner. Minnesota Governor Walz issued an executive order to ensure workers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic have access to unemployment benefits. You may be eligible for unemployment benefits if:

  • A healthcare professional/health authority recommends or orders you to avoid contact with others.
  • You have been ordered not to go to your workplace due to an outbreak of COVID-19.
  • You receive notification your children's school, daycare, or other childcare provider closes or childcare is unavailable, provided you make reasonable efforts to obtain other childcare and request time off or other accommodation from your employer and no reasonable accommodation was available. The executive order waives the non-payable or "waiting" week to ensure those eligible have access to unemployment benefits as quickly as possible. While receiving unemployment benefits you must actively seek suitable employment that does not pose a risk to your health or the health of others. Apply for benefits on-line at https://www.uimn.org. Be sure to check resources at the CDC website or Minnesota Department of Health. If you have questions or concerns, please reach out to your supervisor or a member of the management team.
    3/23/2020 Answers to additional employee questions

1. Is there more we could be doing with 3M during this crisis to help with masks?

We have been in contact with 3M and SourceAmerica regarding our capabilities and willingness to produce essential products needed to minimize the impact of the pandemic.

2. Can the COVID 19 virus adhere to plastic for a period of time and transfer from plant to plant as a result.

Reports indicate that COVID 19 can survive on plastic surfaces for up to 72 hours. We are several days ahead on inventory of blanks for the USPS so the typical inventory coming from Grand Rapids has been in the warehouse for several days.  Many of our products are printed, and go through a high intensity UV light to cure the ink.  UV light is known to kill viruses so this would decrease the potential of the virus to survive.  Our operations in Grand Rapid are automated and the amount of surface area touched before shipping is relatively small.  Overall, we believe the risk is very low due to the limited amount of handling of the product in Grand Rapids, the time the product is in the warehouse and transportation, and the UV light treatment many of the products undergo. However, we are asking for employees to take additional caution by wearing gloves on the folding lines or wash hands and sanitize frequently. 

4. Is there "hazard pay" for working during the pandemic, like some grocery stores are offering? If we operate as an essential function to the Federal Government, would we get "hazard pay"?

Today employees in grocery stores are being paid a premium due to the significant increase demand for groceries and their long working hours.  This is normally applied to people that would be working the front lines such as in hospitals.  We have not been notified by the USPS that our employees would qualify for 'hazard pay' under the current conditions.  At this time, we do believe the risk of infection from working in our facilities is low, and we will continue to place our efforts in maintaining a clean and sanitized work area.  Every employee also has the responsibility to do what they can to prevent the contamination and spread of the virus, and that is primarily achieved by everyone using the enhanced hygiene practices we have been promoting such as washing hands regularly and social distancing.

5. Is there medical insurance coverage from MDI if we were furloughed due to an executive order?

If employees are put on furlough due to an executive order, MDI would insure the employees share of the insurance premiums did not laps, but the employee would be responsible to make up the cost over time once they returned.  It is possible that the cost would be waived or covered by the federal or state assistance plans being put in place now, but that has not yet been determined.

6. Do employees have to exhaust PTO before they could qualify for MN unemployment, or do they have an option to save their PTO?

According to the Minnesota Unemployment web site, it depends on the situation. Workers who are receiving vacation pay, sick pay, or personal time off (PTO) pay equivalent to their normal rate of pay are ineligible for unemployed benefits. If you are required to take an unpaid leave of absence, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits.

7. If employees are on Social Security, are they eligible for unemployment benefits?

Due to the many variables surrounding SSI and MNUI, each employee should seek council for their particular situation. 

If school districts switch to distance learning/internet based, what options are available to parents to make sure their children are attending the courses and completing their school work?

Unemployment benefits are available to individuals who are unemployed through no fault of their own. If your child's school district, daycare, or other childcare provider has notified you that your ordinary childcare is unavailable, and you have requested accommodation from your employer and were denied, you may be eligible for unemployment benefits (assuming you meet other eligibility requirements).

8. Would alternate work hours be an option based on need?

We would consider any reasonable alternative to help employees balance the circumstances they may be faced with during this pandemic.

9. Can the USPS shut us down because of the possibility of the virus on our plastic? This is unlikely.

10. Can MDI hire a janitor for 2nd and 3rd shift for better coverage?

We are asking our supervisors to assign a person to cover the cleaning and sanitizing during the back shifts vs. hiring a person.

11. Can we re-program or eliminate the BIO timeclock in the locker room?

The BIO timeclock is not reprogrammable.  It requires employees to touch the clock in some manner to clock in/out.  We will take the BIO clocks out of service for the next few weeks.

12. Can MDI provide hand lotion due to the excessive hand washing routine?

Yes. We will work with purchasing to have some delivered to each facility.

13. Can a list be generated of who is working from home and how to get a hold of them?

Any MDI employee that can work from home has been asked to do so in order to reduce the pathways and transmission opportunities for the COVID 19 virus, and minimize the risk to those employees that can't work from home.  This is the recommendation of the government and our health officials.  Any employee working from home can be reached by email or phone at their normal extensions, and we are trying to make this nearly seamless to our operations. 

14. If the City shuts down the busses and I can't find a ride what happens?

If a person looses their ability to work directly related to actions take by the city due to COVID 19, we would suggest you file for unemployment under the new guidelines.  We always recommend you make every effort to find transportation that is suitable and safe, but realize that in these uncertain times that can be a challenge.

15. If the city tells businesses to shut down, what would we do?

Because MDI Hibbing and MDI Grand Rapids are directly related to the manufacturing of products that have been defined as essential to the USPS, and we do produce some medical products that could be defined as essential in the Minneapolis facility, we would continue to operate and produce those products.  It is possible that the USPS would extend the contract and allow us to shut down, but that has not been determined at this time


3/16/2020 UPDATE ON CORONAVIRUS (COVID-19)

We have been inundated with news about COVID-19 over the past few weeks. Based on the information on how the virus has been spreading, the next four weeks will be a critical time for us at MDI, and in the US in general. The pattern of new cases in areas that have had outbreaks shows that it spreads slowly at first, and then exponentially for a few weeks, before the rates starts to drop.  The goal of the US government is to slow the spread of the virus by having all citizens adhere to the practices we are implementing. Our efforts are first and foremost to minimize the risk of exposure to every employee and community member.  Based on that principle, until further notice, we are making a few changes to our day-to-day operations, priorities and expectations. This is based on the most recent information available and will be updated as we continue to learn more about COVID-19 and its impact in our communities.

Practice Good Hygiene

  • Frequent hand washing throughout the workday, beginning upon arrival to work; prior to eating, breaks and when leaving MDI.
  • No handshaking; consider other forms of greetings such as elbow bumps.
  • Maintain adequate personal space between co-workers - current recommendations are 6+ ft.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of tissue in the trash, wash hands or use hand sanitizer if available.
  • Disinfect frequently touched objects such as common keyboards and control panels on equipment.

What We Will Do

  • Increase efforts cleaning and disinfecting common area touchpoints and surfaces.
  • Increase locations of hand sanitizer (as available) to high touch areas.
  • Provide Kleenex in conference rooms, throughout production areas, break rooms and offices.
  • Ensure adequate personal space in production and break areas.
  • Stagger break schedules.

Reduce the Pathways for Transmission at and between Facilities

  • Department managers will assess personnel that can work remotely with minimal impact to the business operations.
  • Designated personnel will be assigned to work remotely or to a facility and not allowed to cross over to different facilities.
  • Drivers that make deliveries will be isolated from all but their designated location and not allowed to enter other MDI facilities or vendor facilities.
  • Eliminate non-essential interaction between personnel by limiting traffic to areas other than the employee's assigned work area.

Eliminate Non-Essential Visitor Access to MDI Facilities

  • Postpone visitor access to MDI including tours, meetings with suppliers, customers etc.
  • If visitors are needed for continuity of business, they will be required to complete questionnaire prior to visit and follow new protocol including:
    • MDI representative completing the sign-in process verbally and documenting required information.
    • Visitors will be required to comply with good hygiene practices.
    • Visitors must be isolated from employees to degree possible and not allowed in common areas such as breakrooms.

Stay Home If You Are Sick or Have a Family Member with Symptoms

  • Stay home if you are sick, unable or uncomfortable coming to work.
  • Employees will be sent home if they present flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, or shortness of breath.
  • Attendance points will be suspended for the next 30 calendar days.
  • We recommend you contact your healthcare professional if you are concerned or present symptoms. Most healthcare plans are providing free testing for COVID-19. If you do not have coverage through your insurance and are not covered by other means such as the new Federal Emergency relief program, MDI will pay for the test.

Other Accommodations

  • Based on the national emergency status of this situation, MDI will take additional steps to support the efforts to minimize the impact to our employees and community, both medically and financially.

    • MDI will grant up to two weeks of paid time off to employees or contract employees if they are not covered by other forms of reimbursement such as the Federal Relief program or short-term disability for the following reasons:

      • If the employee tests positive for COVID-19.

      • If an employee is caring for an immediate family member living in the same household tests positive for COVID-19.

    • MDI will allow employees and contract employee unpaid time off with advance written notice that they need:

      • To provide childcare during school closings related to the COVID-19 prevention plan implemented by the State of Minnesota.

      • To deal with their concern of contracting COVID-19 preventing them from coming for work.

Eliminate Non-Essential Travel and In-Person Meetings

  • Eliminate/postpone non-essential business travel, including travel between MDI facilities
  • Eliminated/postpone non-essential in-person meetings
  • Consider video conferencing for meetings
  • Limit number of participants in meetings or gatherings to 50% of room capacity
  • Employees travelling for business or personal reasons outside of Minnesota will be required to complete a questionnaire before returning to work to determine a return-to-work timeframe

Please update your personal contact information including phone number and emergency contacts so you can be reached for updates. 

The health and wellbeing of each employee is our priority. We encourage you to read resources available at CDC website or the Minnesota Department of Health.  Join with us to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities. If you have any questions or concerns, please reach out to your supervisor or a member of the management team.