CHAPTER SIX HUNDRED and THIRTEEN
“This is exhausting,” Jacob said to things had settled to a dull roar. “Among us…”
He pointed to Aden, Blane, Sam, Tres, and himself.
“We have enough stock to make the decisions necessary for our next step,” Jacob said. “We are dedicated to have you be full owners. Full ownership means that you make the hard decisions. But we didn’t sign up for this bull shit. If you cannot stay calm, we will make a decision without you.”
The employee owners became almost too quiet. Everyone knew that Jacob Marlowe always said exactly what he meant. They were just afraid and lashing out with anger. He knew this too, so he waited a moment to give everyone a chance to breathe before turning to Tres.
“Go ahead,” Jacob said.
“Our other option is a kind of rotating job share,” Tres said. “it’s Jake’s idea, so I figured that he should tell us. Jake?”
Jacob walked to the front.
“Here’s how it would work,” Jacob said. “We can handle all of our current staff by a type of job share. This means that people would work three-twelve hour shifts and then the next group would step in. We checked our current roster and we have nearly equal numbers in every job group. This allows us to have plumbing share with other plumbers. The road crew would share with other road crew. Digging, same thing. This goes for office staff as well. We will all work thirty-six hours over three days and take only three days pay for it.”
“What about health insurance?” a woman yelled from the back.
“My sister, Valerie, has spoken to the insurance company,” Jacob said. He pointed toward the door where his movie star sister was leaning against the wall. “She and her husband, Mike, have put up over a million dollars to secure health insurance for all employees and their families. Everyone. No matter what. So your wife can continue her cancer treatments, Jen, even if we have to lay you off.”
“What about schools?” someone near the front asked. “Most of the schools are closed.”
“As you may know, the Marlowe School is funded out of a trust set up by my mother,” Jacob said. “We don’t get state funds. Every employee pays into the fund at about 1% of their paychecks. We will stop your potion of the payment while we are on this schedule. As long as it’s safe, we’ll keep the school open from the fund every employee has put in.”
“He’s asking if it will stay open,” a Site Manager asked as he stood.
“We’re not sure how we will do it,” Jacob said. “But we’ll do what we can. If we need to move outside, we’ll move outside. If we need masks, we’ll get it done. We’re not the people who stand around negotiating. We get things done. That will apply here as well.”
Jacob nodded to Aden.
“It’s up for a vote,” Aden said. “When you came in, each of you were given a sheet of paper with the number ‘1’ and the number ‘2’ on it. Pick which you want and bring it up to the front.”
“What are they again?” a woman asked near the middle.
“Number one is to lay off about half of the company,” Aden said. “Number two is to job share for as long as it takes until we’re able to finish the construction contracts.”
Blane went through the audience with a large cardboard box. He set it in the middle of the aisle.
“We’ll give you fifteen minutes,” Jacob said. “Don’t you dare take that mask off Jethro!”
“It itches,” a man’s voice said from the back.
“So does my butt,” Jacob said. “You don’t see me taking my pants off, do you?”
“Fifteen minutes,” Aden said. “Then we have to get home to our families.”
Denver Cereal continues tomorrow…
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