COVID-19 Updates

4/9/20

COVID-19 update

We will have another employee meeting online this Thursday with special guest Rep. Cheri Helt.   Cheri is our representative to Salem and has been helping people work through issues with Unemployment.  This is a very good opportunity to learn what is happening at our State government level.

The situation at Epic has changed little from last week.  We still have a small crew (same as last week) continuing to work with most of our staff at home.  We have applied for the PPP loans with two major banks and we see this as one of the driving factors that can help bring us back.  All departments are working on strategies to bring back staff while social distancing.  Last week, I discussed how we could try a 4 shift/week schedule in Composite layup.  Thank you all for responding and getting the information of which shift you would prefer.  Unfortunately, we did not get enough interest in night shifts to put it together right now.

News on the floor.  K004 has moved to the flight line and will start ground and flight checks this week.  The skeleton continues to move.  Our team of Quality, Engineering, and Manufacturing has been working diligently on reducing inspection delays within the confines of our Quality System and Manual.  This should allow us to move more quickly when we do return.  Our customers have been patient and are eagerly awaiting delivery of their aircraft.  We have had no update from the FAA regarding their ability to travel.  We are still planning a return in the coming weeks – I just don’t know when exactly.

Below is the Zoom meeting information.  They now require a password so write it down or copy and paste it.

See you this afternoon,

Doug

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/182312556?pwd=MWJxYWhCU1J1bm9MMVNlczFrc1NIQT09

Meeting ID: 182 312 556

Password: 009672

April 1, 2020

Weekly COVID-19 Employee Update

This week we have continued to see growth in the spread of the disease as well as changes in the government’s response to COVID-19. Last Friday, the Federal Government passed the CARES act. Specifically, this will pay additional unemployment to those laid off and up to a $1200 one-time payment. Please stay on this so that you get yours. If you didn’t file taxes for 2018, file 2019 now.

We are developing a plan for return to work. This may seem early, but I think it’s necessary that we are prepared. We have to expect that social distancing will be a factor in the development of the plan. One of the ideas (we have many) is to have more shifts for some areas of the factory. This will spread people out in a less dense fashion by cutting down the number of people here at one time. Take composite layup, if we go to 4 shifts it might work like this: Starting Sunday at 4am, Team 1 would work from 4am to 3:30pm – 11 hours with a ½ hour lunch. Then Team 2 would work from 3:45pm – 3:15am – 11 hours. Teams 1 & 2 would work Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and then have Wed-Sat off. Team 3 would work from 4am to 3:30pm – 11 hours with a ½ hour lunch. Then Team 4 would work from 3:45pm – 3:15am – 11 hours. Teams 3 & 4 would work Wed-Saturday. The next week would be 4 days for 1&2 (Sunday-Wed) with 3 days for 3&4. (Thursday-Saturday) This way everyone gets 3 days on 3 days off, 4 days on, 4 days off. In order for this to work, we have to fill all 4 shifts.

2 weeks would be 77 hours with 7 hours paid as overtime. This will equal the amount of 80.5 hours of normal hourly pay. Think of the mid-week skiing next year! Think of the fishing! Our thought for holidays: most holidays you would be paid 8 hours of holiday for each holiday whether you work it or not. If you worked, you would get that pay as well. The details of this are being worked out now. I’ll be looking for your feedback on the call this Thursday so please join.

The Thursday Get Together.

Last Thursday I heard people had difficulty getting in. This Thursday I’m trying ZOOM. For those of you who have used Ring Central Meetings, it will look the same. RingCentral uses Zoom. Again, I’ll try to start a bit early to give people a chance to work out the tech. Zoom is free for individuals so I recommend that you try it out with friends or family before Thursday to make sure it works. Like last time, please make sure your mike is muted so everyone can hear. Zoom does have a chat feature and I think that’s the best way to get a question answered.

Thursday Get Together 4/2/20 – 4pm
Zoom Meeting

  • Meeting ID: 315 179 647
  • Password: 555837
  • One tap mobile
  • +16699006833,,315179647# US (San Jose)
  • +13462487799,,315179647# US (Houston)

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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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. 

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2821059244676294/

Thursday Get Together is going OnLine!

Join Zoom Meeting

https://zoom.us/j/182312556?pwd=MWJxYWhCU1J1bm9MMVNlczFrc1NIQT09

Meeting ID: 182 312 556

Password: 009672

Please mute when you join to keep down feedback.

Thank you for your continued understanding.

Doug