March 26, 2020
A Message From Our CEO Doug King
COVID-19 forced Epic to make some quick changes that are difficult for our staff. The layoff on Friday 3/20 was quite a blow to 299 valuable, important, qualified members of the Epic family. I’m sorry for that.
On 3/12, our Oregon governor prohibited gatherings of 250 people or more and closed all the schools.
On 3/17, our Oregon governor prohibited gatherings of 25 people or more and banned on-site eating and drinking at restaurants.
On 3/18, the FAA told us that they could not travel to Bend to perform our final audit to issue our Production Certificate or come to fly our aircraft serial number 4, 5, and on.
Additionally, several suppliers, like the foam for our door skin, shut down. Our battery supplier said they were only making medical batteries. Window components from France, environmental parts, started to send us shutdown notices. Pratt & Whitney, our engine supplier, sent us a letter advising that their supply chain was temporarily disrupted for an undetermined amount of time.
It was in the interest of Safety of our Epic Staff, our families, and the long-term viability of the company that the board of directors authorized sending home of most of the Epic staff.
Sunday, 3/22, I had a conference call with the Treasurer of the state of Oregon, the head of BOLI and a state Senator and a local representative. I stressed with them the need to get checks out right away and pay more on unemployment. They all assured me that was their intention and that the unemployment reserve was over $5 billion and that Oregon has the 2nd healthiest unemployment system in the country.
I hated that this was the mechanism, but it appeared to be the only option to assure safety, and to make sure we had a company that was financially secure when we could return in force. The letter that was drafted and handed out on Friday was done so that you would immediately qualify for unemployment.
We paid the health insurance this week. The health insurance coverage will continue through April. My goal is to have most, if not all, of the staff back to work ASAP. This is highly dependent on the progression of the VIRUS, our suppliers and government (Oregon, Federal, OSHA, BOLI, FAA, Deschutes County) reactions to the virus pandemic. This news changes every day.
If the current bill is signed into law, you will be receiving extra unemployment benefits plus a one-time check based on your pay. I know that all of you would rather be working than receiving unemployment. We want to help you receive this short-term help so here are some tips:
- Get on unemployment. If you don’t qualify for some reason, let us know so we can try to help somehow. Only around 100 notices came in today from the state, so not everyone filed on Friday. I talked with one employee who filed online and it took around 5-10 minutes and it was done.
- The one-time payment is going to be sent to the bank account and address of your last Federal Tax Return. If your bank changed since you filed your last tax return, file this year’s tax return right away even though it’s not due until later in the year. That will update the bank account information in the IRS system and they will send the amount to you while you need it, not sometime next year! If you didn’t file a tax return last year – file one now – there are free services on line.
I want to keep in touch with all of you. Nathan in final assembly setup an Epic Family facebook page on his own. It’s growing fast – thanks Nathan.
Now, about the Epic Revival!
My goal, is to find a way that we can be back to work before May 1 – in order to continue to pay healthcare benefits without interruption. (Obviously, this will be impacted by the news.) We have phone numbers for everyone (I think) but we need email addresses. Please send and email to Linda@epicaircraft.com with your current contact info. We don’t want to lose you because we can’t find you. I know life changes, if you know you aren’t coming back, please let her know. Our expectation today as that everyone will be asked to return.
Questions I’ve heard already:
Are we all coming back at once? – I expect there will be a few (less than 20) that will be called back to complete some specific tasks next week. We will find a way to pick people we can provide a safe environment for them to work at a distance from others and stay on board indefinitely. I don’t want to have people coming in for a short time then leaving, then coming back, then leaving. I think it’s too hard on everyone. After that, we will probably have a few waves separated by a couple days or weeks. I just don’t know right now. As this changes, and it will change, we will keep you informed on this website.
Do I think this is really necessary? Yes. One of my sisters and her fiancé tested positive and he is having a tough go at it (I found out on Monday). This thing is serious. #1 – stay healthy. If you are sick, or someone in your house is sick, let us know. Follow the social distancing rules and don’t go out to meet family or friends out of town.
What can you do to help? Stay healthy and be ready to return to work.
We are all proud of the company we have built together and will continue to build. Let’s come out of this stronger and build an even bigger company.
I miss my friends at work, how can I contact them? See Nathan’s Epic Family facebook group.
Thursday Get Together is going OnLine!
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Thank you for your continued understanding.