We made it through a very difficult April but May is here and spring is in the air and both companies are continuing to remain strong and ready for the next challenges. Together, we will survive, and thrive, as long as we keep our focus and effort.
You Truly Are Essential
Each day, as I drive to and from the office, I see the billboards and electronic signs on the road, and even hand-made yard signs in my neighborhood, thanking all the essential workers. Usually these are for the amazing health care workers across the country, but I have even seen one for truck drivers and utility workers. For me, however, every time I see such a sign, I think of you.
While the health care professionals, truckers, and utility company workers deserve everyone’s thanks for caring for the sick and elderly and providing needed products and utilities, each of you deserves just as much thanks and praise for your efforts ensuring the rail supply chain keeps moving. Remember, we are helping our customers deliver their products and those products either are or become products that consumers critically need at this time. Our customers make materials like polymers and chemicals that go into facemasks, medical tubing, IV bags, hand sanitizers, and hundreds of other products. Every rail car transporting a raw material or finished product impacts the supply chain network of the nation in some capacity. Each of you is critical to helping supply these important materials enabling all Americans to combat this crisis and protect their families and loved ones. I know it’s been difficult and hard on you but every time you see an essential worker sign, think of the amazing work you are doing and take comfort in knowing that thank you is for you as well.
Helping Each Other and Others
The COVID-19 pandemic has certainly reminded us that we cannot control everything happening around us, but it has also shown we can control how we support one another. I have heard countless stories of our employees helping other employees in their time of need and helping in their communities. From picking up and delivering groceries and needed items to employees who are housebound, to volunteering to help others in need in their neighborhood, and donating blood, Rescar and AllTranstek employees have thought of others. Thanks to all of you for your selfless efforts to help others in need during these times.
Broken Record Time
I titled this section broken record because I probably sound like a broken record at this point, but personal hygiene and safe distancing is the number one “tool” to fight and beat this virus. I think I have washed my hands more in the last 6 weeks than I have in the almost 60 years I have been alive but that is what we need to keep doing. Please stay focused on these two things as we head into another week and be safe.
- Joseph F. Schieszler, Jr., CEO
Here are a few things I want you to consider and know with the new developments on lifting stay at home directives nationwide.
Please Stay Vigilant
I am convinced that the reason we have been fortunate to have limited impact from COVID-19 so far is because of our early adoption of preventative measures in our operations and offices, and your commitment to practicing those guidelines. With several states now re-opening or loosening some stay at home orders, we need to “double down” on those efforts. While it is natural and understandable to feel some euphoria at the restrictions being lifted, and I believe it is a good sign overall, we must remain vigilant about the social distancing, personal hygiene and safe practices we have in place. Situations will vary significantly depending upon where you live but the best approach is to employ the CDC, your local government, and our guidelines wherever you live. Keeping yourself safe is the best way to ensure we keep all Rescar/AllTranstek employees and their families safe.
We Are In This Together
This has become the catchphrase for fighting this virus and I am sure there are numerous businesses and communities where our employees live and work that are struggling greatly. If any of you know of a local business re-opening or community program in your neighborhood that we can help by purchasing needed items from, or lending a hand in some way, please let your supervisor know and we will do what we can.
Rescar/AllTranstek Offices Re-opening
Although Illinois and Texas have relaxed some restrictions, at this time we are likely still a few weeks away from having employees returning to the Downers Grove or Houston corporate offices in any large numbers. We have made a lot of progress with our team who is spearheading this effort and we will be ready when the time comes. This effort includes adding social distance markings, enhancing our office cleaning efforts, and staggering employees’ office schedules among other best industry practices all intended to make our office environment as safe as possible in this new normal. We are also in the process of making some wonderful new refurbishments to both our Downers Grove and Houston offices that should all be completed by early June. We will provide update on these initiatives in future communications. In the meantime, let’s continue to serve our customers while staying safe.
Even with all the uncertainty out there, things for our companies are fairly “status quo” right now. There are just a couple of items I want to update you on and discuss as we head into another week.
Both Rescar and AllTranstek continue to have little impact from COVID-19 or other illnesses, our operations remain stable, and we are able to serve our customers. We need to be proactive about maintaining supplies of material and equipment to do our jobs so please make sure you are monitoring your location’s inventories and let your supervisor know of any things that need to be ordered. Sometimes it takes time to get deliveries of certain products and we want to stay ahead of the game.
Our Customers’ Operations
We are fortunate to be in an “essential industry” and working while many others have lost their jobs. It is challenging and demanding, but also a blessing. At this point, most of our customers are continuing to operate at generally normal levels to meet the nation’s needs and this means they need our services as much as they ever have to support their operations.
Reopening the Economy:
There is beginning to be talk about relaxing the shelter in place restrictions and ways to re-open the economy. It is still early, and there will be significant differences about what this means depending upon where you live, but a few things to keep in mind:
On the Rescar safety call this week one of our location managers, Jeff Walker, Location 375, Borger, TX, said it best: - “our employees are like our family and we want to help keep you safe while doing your job in any way we can”. Thank you for that Jeff; and thank you all for your continuing efforts.
- Joseph F. Schieszler, Jr., CEO
For those of you who celebrate Easter, I hope you were able to have as nice a holiday as
possible under the circumstances. I want to keep this week’s Memo brief so I will just highlight a couple of things and let you get on with what you do best.
Because of your efforts, we had another very good week with little impact on our business. In fact, Rescar and AllTranstek remain strong and for that I am eternally grateful to all of you. This is not over by any means, but we are starting to see and hear some “glimmers of hope” out there in the country and I am encouraged.
HR posted a terrific one-page Health Resources summary on the websites with all of the contact information for BlueCross/BlueShield, AFLAC, and Lincoln Financial available for you with one “click.” We have a lot of very good health benefits available to you and your family so be sure to become familiar with, and take advantage of, all of the different options. If you are having any problems, please call the HR hotline or e-mail for assistance. Many thanks to Jackie and Sandy who, as you all know, are new to the Rescar/AllTranstek family. They have really “stepped up”over the last few weeks and are doing a fantastic job!
Many locations across our network have also implemented their own helpful additions to the “social distancing” and safety measures we have put in place. For example:
• Loc 163 – Actively talking about social distancing during the day and not just applying it at work but remembering to apply at home as well.
• Loc 550 – When customers call them out to the site, they try to limit exposure with the customer’s employees by having the car placed on a track away from the loading rack when possible.
• Loc 310 – All printed material they need to review is placed on a neutral area table and the area is sanitized a few times a day as needed.
• Loc 565 – This location made a 6 ft “social distancing” note on the floor using tape to show proper distancing and removed half of the chairs from the table in the common area to assist with proper social distancing.
• Loc 489 – Employees are continually talking about and practicing healthy nutrition and hydration habits and avoiding junk food. Eating healthy and staying hydrated helps in keeping the immune system strong.
• Loc 545 – During truck inspections, this location has focused on keeping the cabin air filters in the trucks changed out frequently.
• Loc 680 – This location is focused on ensuring each area has adequate hand sanitizer, soap, or some type of personal disinfecting method available at all times.
I am constantly impressed with the dedication and creativity of our employees. Please, if you have other ideas, talk to your supervisor. LET’S KEEP WORKING SAFELY, CONTINUE TO USE SOCIAL DISTANCING AND OTHER PROTECTIVE MEASURES, AND HAVE ANOTHER
- Joseph F. Schieszler, Jr., CEO
There is an old journalism adage “don’t bury the lead” (or “lede”- Google it) and I made that mistake last week. It was in the last paragraph of our employee update on March 30 and it should have been in the first paragraph-YOU ARE ALL DOING A MAGNIFICENT JOB! I CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH. Customer after customer has told us how much they
appreciate everything their Rescar crews and AllTranstek staff are doing for them and that you have been instrumental in helping them continue to operate during these difficult times. KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK and thank you again.
Because all of you are diligently practicing “social distancing” and cleaning and disinfecting our workplaces, we continue to have very few employees missing work for any illnesses. THESE TWO STEPS ARE THE NUMBER ONE WAY TO PROTECT OUR EMPLOYEES AND THEIR FAMILIES FROM THIS VIRUS. We have also put other safety measures in place with your feedback and assistance. Several locations have adopted a “staggered” work schedule so that not all employees are arriving and leaving at the same time. These time intervals allow employees to have more distance between themselves when first arriving at work or leaving for the day. Fixed mini shops have staggered breaks and lunch times to accomplish the same result. These are wonderful and creative ways to bring even more safety to our workplaces and were the result of your efforts. I encourage all of you to think about additional steps we can take and share those thoughts with your supervisor.
CDC Recommendation Regarding Wearing Masks:
The CDC has recommended that all Americans wear some type of cloth face covering or mask when out in public places. This is in addition to maintaining the social distancing measures(staying 6 feet apart) that we have been practicing for several weeks now. This is not mandatory or a law but we encourage all of you to adopt this practice when out in grocery stores, pharmacies, or other public spaces.
With our “social distancing” practices in place, you do not need to wear a cloth face covering or mask at work. However, we have ordered masks to be delivered over the next few weeks to ensure we have enough available if circumstances require you to work where “social distancing” is difficult. If any of you feel more comfortable wearing a personal cloth face covering or mask, please feel free to do so but you must ensure your mask does not contain any inappropriate markings and that you follow all CDC guidelines regarding cleaning and disinfecting personal cloth face coverings. With the critical shortages of masks available nationwide, please be diligent with maintenance and care of the masks you wear at work. Our safety group can help any location with questions. And, if any of you know of a source to buy more masks, please let your supervisor know.
BlueCross BlueShield MDLive/Nurseline/AFLAC
The technical difficulties with accessing MDLive have been corrected. To access care online go to https://members.mdlive.com/bcbsil/landing_home. Rescar/AllTranstek have made arrangements to cover the cost of the co-pay for MDLive through June, 2020. And remember, you also have access to the BCBS 24/7 Nurseline @ (800) 299-0274. For AFLAC members, you have access to 24/7 care online @ www.MeMD.me/Aflac or by telephone (855) 423-8585. AFLAC me voluntary program not provided by the Company.
Other Employee Services
In addition to BCBS MDLive and Nurseline, and AFLAC, Rescar/AllTranstek employees and
their immediate household family members also now have access to Employee Connect
Services through Lincoln Financial Group. This is a wonderful Company provided “Employee Assistance Program” (EAP) that includes:
• Up to four sessions with a counselor per person, per issue, per year
• In-person help for short-term issues; up to four sessions with a counselor per person,
per issue, per year
• Toll-free phone and web access 24/7
• Unlimited phone access to legal, financial and work-life services
• A 25% discount on in-person consultations with network lawyers
• Financial consultations and referrals
• Work/life services for assistance with childcare, finding movers, kennels and pet care,
vacation planning, and more.
This EAP service can be a great help especially during these stressful times. For your
convenience, all of these programs and services are posted on the Rescar/AllTranstek
employee COVID19 sites (www.rescar.com/covid19 and www.alltranstek.com/covid19) and in the HR cabinet under Employee Benefits.
Shelter in Place/Travel Restrictions
Our Essential Business Designation is still in place for Rescar and AllTranstek and there are no restrictions on your ability to commute to and from your workplace. In fact, many states have issued clarifying orders that the vehicle travel restrictions do not apply to “commercial” or “essential infrastructure” businesses like ours. Keep our Essential Business Designation letter on your phone just in case and contact your supervisor if you have any problem.
Our Commitment to You
The Rescar and AllTranstek Senior Management teams are committed to you and your families’ safety. Your safety is our number one priority. Please continue to:
• Be an advocate/ promoter of your own personal hygiene – practice good habits
• Don’t come to work if you are ill
• Wash your hands; avoid touching your face, eyes and mouth
• Clean and disinfect regularly
• Practice social distancing – both at work and away from work
• Remember to keep safety first and foremost in everything we do
There will be changes and challenges ahead, but I am confident that together we will continue to overcome.
Reminder Company Updates
Important employee information, memos, updates, and resource materials continue to be posted on the Company websites:
• AllTranstek employees at www.alltranstek.com/covid19
• Rescar employees at www.rescar.com/covid19
Employees are encouraged to check these sites frequently for important updates and helpful information.
-Joseph F. Schieszler, Jr., CEO
First, let me say a big thank you to all of the Rescar/AIITranstek employees for all of your efforts. So far we have had very few employees missing work for any illnesses. However, we are likely a few weeks (or more) away from the peak of this pandemic so we need to "double down" on our commitment to maintaining the personal hygiene, workplace cleaning and disinfecting, and "social distancing" measure we have in place. NOW IS NOT THE TIME TO BECOME COMPLACENT.
Continue to Follow Rescar/AIITranstek's Guidelines and the CDC Recommendations:
If your location needs cleaning or disinfecting supplies, or is starting to run low, please let your supervisor know right away so we can order supplies. AND, REMEMBER, for the safety of everyone, employees that are sick should not come in to work.
REMINDER COMPANY UPDATES
Important employee information, memos, updates, and resource materials are still being posted on the Company websites:
Employees are encouraged to check these sites frequently for important updates and helpful information.
PAID SICK LEAVE/EFMLA
Paid sick leave is available for those who qualify and, effective April 1, 2020, for those who may need additional leave after paid sick leave has ended, the Emergency Family Medical Leave Act (EFMLA) will apply. This leave only applies to those who are unable to work because they are caring for school aged children whose school, or place of care is closed (or childcare provider is unavailable) due to COVID-19 related reasons. Employees applying for EFMLA must complete a leave form we will distribute, and provide the applicable, required information and documentation.
HEALTH TRACKING LOG
The Health Tracking Log we implemented has been, and will continue to be, an important tool in tracking illnesses, monitoring for an COVID-19 exposures or illnesses, and helping us make staffing decisions where needed. All Location Managers need to continue notifying their Regional Managers of any potential issues so the Regional Managers can update the log daily and submit to HR.
SHELTER IN PLACE
The Essential Business Designation is still in place for Rescar and AIITranstek and there are still no restrictions on your ability to commute to and from your workplace. Nevertheless, the letter regarding our Essential Business Designation is also posted on the Company websites. Anyone who has any problem should contact their supervisor so Rescar/AIITranstek's Senior Management can respond.
All systems seem to be "GO." Again, if you are experiencing any connectivity or other system problems, please report the same to your supervisor immediately so we can troubleshoot and maintain maximum system availability.
BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD MDLive/AFLAC
The technical difficulties with accessing MDLive are still being worked on by BCBS but we understand things are better. To access care online go to https://members.mdlive.com/bcbsil/landing home. Please let us now if you experience any problems. BCBS is also continuously expanding and extending its capabilities to continue to provide remote access for medical services. For AFLAC members, access 24/7 care online www.MeMD.me/Aflac or by telephone (855) 423-8585.
BECAUSE OF YOU
We have heard time and again from our customers about what a terrific job you are all doing to provide our usual highest quality services and to keep our customers informed during these very trying times. WE CANNOT THANK YOU ENOUGH. LET'S CONTINUE THE FIGHT FOR US AND THE NATION. WE CAN AND WILL WIN THIS BATTLE AND IT WILL MAKE US BETTER AND STRONGER IN THE FUTURE!
-Joseph F. Schieszler, Jr., CEO
Rescar and AllTranstek’s Senior Management continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation on a daily basis, evaluate and adjust impacts on our business operations, resources, and processes accordingly.
For those of you on the front line, our tremendous Field Services personnel, the job you are doing is truly exceptional and inspiring. YOU ARE MAKING A DIFFERENCE FOR ALL AMERICANS!
We need to be diligent and all employees need to continue to follow the safe hygiene practices we have implemented and posted on the website for you, and those adopted by our customers. In addition, going forward:
Again, thank you all for your continued effort and dedication.
Important employee information, memos, updates, and resource materials are and will continue to be posted on the Company websites:
HEALTH TRACKING LOG
A Health Tracking Log has been implemented to track all illnesses company-wide. The log will be utilized to keep us informed of situations where there is an actual or potential exposure to COVID-19. Currently, and thankfully, we have no known work exposures at this time.
SHELTER IN PLACE
Many of you are now in states with “shelter in place” or similar orders and, as we mentioned in our last communication over the weekend, government and law enforcement officials have confirmed that there are many necessary exceptions to these orders including grocery stores, pharmacies, medical facilities, even restaurants for carry out.
Travel to and for these basic life needs is still permitted. The rail transportation industry is part of the Nation’s “critical infrastructure” and, therefore, Rescar/AllTranstek, have also been deemed an “essential business.” We have provided a letter regarding this Essential Business Designation you should keep with you and that is also posted on the Company websites.
For those that are working remotely, or those in the field with the new laptops or other equipment, if you are experiencing any connectivity or other system problems, please report the same to your supervisor immediately so we can troubleshoot and maintain maximum system availability.
BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD 24/7 Nurseline
The 24/7 Nurseline is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and staffed with registered nurses who may answer your general health questions about things like minor cuts or burns, a sick child, headaches, fever, asthma, back pain and other chronic conditions.
Call the 24/7 Nurseline at (800) 765-7298
BLUECROSS BLUESHIELD MDLive
You can use your smartphone, table, or computer 24 hours a day for a virtual doctor visit where doctors can diagnose your symptoms, prescribe medication, and send prescriptions to your pharmacy of choice.
Employees currently enrolled in AFLAC products can utilized MeMD. The cost is $25.00 per visit. Access 24/7 care online www.MeMD.me/Aflac or by telephone (855) 423-8585.
Rescar and AllTranstek’s Senior Management will continue to monitor the situation and evaluate and respond to the impact of the COVID-19 virus on our business operations and will provide updates on key changes. This Memo, and the others that have been sent out, are available on our Company website. Please remember to review and check the website from time to time for additional updates. Again, thank you all for your continued effort and dedication.
My fellow employees,
I know there is a lot of confusion for those of you who live in states with "shelter in place" orders. However, if you read the actual orders, many activities and types of businesses are exempt. Basic needs like grocery shopping, medical care, obtaining medicine, etc., are essential businesses and still open, and traveling for these and other basic life needs is still permitted. These orders are really directed at groups of people. Most importantly, for us, Rescar and AIITranstek truly are deemed essential businesses and we can play a big part in helping all Americans survive this crisis by ensuring the continued flow of products by rail.
Nevertheless, I know many of you are understandably concerned and worried about your own health and safety and I want you to know I share those concerns. We have undertaken many steps to clean, disinfect, and "social distance" our office space, and we are going to continue to do so going forward. We are also taking steps to have as many employees as possible work remotely and will continue that effort this week as well. For those still coming in to the office or commuting to/from customers, based on official announcements from the government and law enforcement officials in all states with "shelter in place" orders, all roads remain open and I do not believe you will have any problem commuting to the office or for business. However, just in case, I have prepared a letter (attached) explaining the situation. You should keep this e-mail with the letter attached on your cell phone.
In a way, our business being deemed essential is really something we should be thankful for as many other people have temporarily lost their jobs as a result of this crisis. It is also something that allows us to serve to help everyone and that we can be proud of! I am certainly proud of all of you and thankful for your efforts over the past 10 days or so, and I know you will continue to do the great job you are doing.
Chief Executive Officer
COVID 19 Precautions
Get Updated Information - Given the fluidity and rapid evolution of information available about the virus, utilize publicly available information from:
How to Clean and Disinfect
REMEMBER – THERE ARE MANY ALTERNATIVES TO LYSOL WIPES PRODUCTS. CONSIDER BLEACH (SEE ABOVE) AS AN EFFECTIVE CLEANER. INSTEAD OF BLEACH USE PINE SOL, SPIC N SPAN, MR CLEAN ETC.. OR ANY OTHER CLEANER THAT CLEANS AND DISINFECTS. READ THE PRODUCT LABEL FOR SPECIFIC INFORMATION AND USAGE INSTRUCTIONS.
Please see the link below for AllTranstek's COVID-19 update from Joseph Schieszler, Jr.