Oregon Manufacturer Raising Wages 9 Percent and Hiring More Workers Due to Tax Reform

Tax reform continues to revitalize the American economy—and companies across the nation are feeling the momentum.

Miles Fiberglass in Oregon City, Oregon, is using its tax savings to invest in its workforce and in growing its business. Not only does Miles Fiberglass plan to increase the number of employees working at its facility due to skyrocketing demand, but it also plans to increase wages substantially and re-implement long-dormant profit-sharing bonuses for its existing employees.

Lori Miles-Olund, who is the president of the family-owned business that her father founded in 1963, explained how Miles Fiberglass plans to pass along the benefits to its employees:

  • “We increased our starting wage by 9 percent, which bumps everyone up the chart,” Miles-Olund said. “We’ve also implemented a new training program, ‘Learn to Earn.’ Every time employees learn a new skill, they get an hourly pay increase of $1.00, $1.50.”
  • She reported that, even as expenses like health insurance have gone up on the employer side, tax reform means that Miles Fiberglass will not be passing those added expenses along to its employees. And, since many employees commute from more than an hour away, Miles Fiberglass is also helping make these long commutes more affordable, providing a flat-rate gas stipend.
  • “We also anticipate implementing our bonus program again this year,” Miles-Olund said, noting that it had previously been on hold for quite some time due to the economic climate. Once implemented employees will start receiving a quarterly profit-sharing bonus, meaning that, as Miles continues to succeed, employees will directly benefit.

Miles Fiberglass also plans to expand its facilities and workforce dramatically. “We anticipate our sales to double this year due to the economic climate,” Miles-Olund told the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM), adding that demand for composite component parts is “far more than we’d seen in the past.”

To deal with the increased demand because of tax reform, Miles is in the middle of a hiring spree. The company started off 2018 with 50 workers—and, by the end of the year, it plans to increase that number to around 85 employees. So far, the company has already filled 20 of the open positions.

These new employees will shift from the company’s existing two facilities into one larger, more modern facility that Miles-Olund stressed will be more environmentally friendly and more efficient. “It will be designed according to the principles of ‘lean manufacturing,’” Miles-Olund said, “which is a way to decrease waste and improve efficiency.”

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Miles Fiberglass is also working to train and develop manufacturing talent, so it can continue to grow and attract the workers it needs. Noting how difficult it is to find talent in the manufacturing workspace of Oregon, where the unemployment rate is below the national average, Miles-Olund told the NAM how Miles Fiberglass is investing in the future.

“We’re connected with the local community college quite heavily,” said Miles-Olund. “We provide scholarships to our employees and to other people who want to get into manufacturing. We also work with a local tech high school—we were one of the founders of that high school—so anyone coming out of that school can get a scholarship at the community college.”

“We also work with the Boy Scouts,” she added. “They can come to Miles Fiberglass and earn a Composite Merit Badge.”

For more than 50 years, Miles Fiberglass has dedicated itself to being a positive force in its community—and thanks to tax reform, the company is continuing to create new jobs, invest in its workers and help grow the local economy.

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