POCAHONTAS, Ark. – A giant business in Randolph County has made an extraordinary decision to pay employees for almost an entire week despite the plant being shut down.
All full-time Peco employees will be paid for the hours worked on Monday, May 1, plus 32 hours, provided they come back as an active employee when Peco Foods reopens. This was from Human Resources Director Kerry Roemer, who spoke to NEA Report to talk about the incredible decision by the new business.
“That’s what kind of company Peco is,” Roemer said. “They’re owned by a family. They’re ran by a family. They care about families.”
Roemer said the decision was made because staff, often struggling financially already, would have been too burdened to worry about how to pay for food or to pay their light bill. With east Pocahontas evacuated and many at the edge of the west side of Black River flooding, too, the decision comes as welcome news to a struggling community.
“This is awesome,” One employee wrote on Facebook. “Thank you, Peco, for what you are doing for us employees. This is a big burden lifted for us at a stressful time. May God bless you.”
The company announced early Wednesday it would be closed Thursday, May 4, in Pocahontas.
At least 20 plant supervisors and managers were in Walnut Ridge on Wednesday to help fill sandbags, Roemer said, with staff also helping in Pocahontas by volunteering at shelters.
The company has also tried to continue business by sending a group of supervisors to the Batesville plant, Roemer said, to continue processing chickens which are ready.
It is anything but business as usual but in a company like Peco, Roemer said it is like having a family of support you can count on in hard times.
“It’s one thing to tell people we care about you and we’re a values-based organization,” Roemer said. “But when you have the plant manager (Alan Risley) at work for probably 30 hours, personally taking people home and bringing his trailer to work in case anyone needs help getting stuff out of their house – people see that and they feel security and feel cared about. We all need to feel cared about.”