Twenty Years with No Layoffs – A Company’s Commitment to its Employees

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AGM Container Controls celebrates 20 years without laying off a single employee

AGM’s management team is committed to doing our best to ensure that our employees are able to work in a stable environment without constant fear of a layoff.

Despite the lagging economy and Arizona’s stagnant unemployment rate, one Tucson employer has not only avoided layoffs for the past 20 years, but has recently increased their workforce. AGM Container Controls, Inc. will celebrate this incredible business feat on Friday, April 1, the exact anniversary date of achieving two decades without layoffs.

“AGM’s management team is committed to doing our best to ensure that our employees are able to work in a stable environment without constant fear of a layoff,” stated Howard N. Stewart, AGM’s President and CEO. “In fact, my most important professional and personal goal throughout my presidency at AGM has been, and continues to be, to never lay off a single employee.”

According to the Arizona Workforce Unemployment Report, Arizona’s unemployment remained at 9.6% in February for the fourth straight month. In addition, University of Arizona Economist Marshall Vest has cited that more than 30,000 jobs were lost in Tucson during the recession; there are now 40,000 unemployed Tucsonans trying to find work.

Faced with the very real challenges of the recession, Stewart and AGM’s management team developed an 11-step plan for avoiding employee layoffs. The plan gets reviewed and implemented as needed, whenever sales begin to slow. Some of the steps – like increasing inventories of standard product components and performing exhaustive annual inventory counts – are designed to help AGM get ahead for the periods when sales recover.

This layoff avoidance plan was executed in late 2009 and early 2010, after AGM’s backlog (demands waiting to be filled) decreased precipitously throughout the year and more customers were forced to file for bankruptcy than ever in AGM’s 40-year history. As part of the plan, in the first quarter of 2010, some AGM employees took temporary unpaid leaves of absence to avoid permanent layoffs. However, not a single employee was asked to take more than one week of involuntary unpaid leave.

AGM management’s well-developed plan paid off in the long run, and the manufacturer’s backlog has since soared to record highs numerous times. More importantly, because AGM was able to avoid laying off or terminating any employees who worked at AGM during the difficult times of 2009 and 2010, they had the requisite manpower to meet the strong sales demand that followed. In fact, AGM’s workforce has increased from 99 employees at the end of 2009 to 115 employees as of March 2011, with a few positions still yet to be filled.

AGM will celebrate this momentous occasion with a catered Mexican lunch for all employees on Friday, April 1. During this lunch, Howard will thank AGM’s employee-owners for their dedication to the company and their commitment to their team members, which has enabled the company to achieve this considerable accomplishment.

To learn more about AGM, please visit To schedule an interview with Howard N. Stewart, AGM’s President and CEO, please call the contact listed above.

About AGM Container Controls
Established in 1970, AGM manufactures environmental control hardware for containers that hold missiles and other sensitive equipment. AGM also manufactures Ascension wheelchair lifts to enable people with disabilities to reach stages and platforms in public facilities. Since 1988, AGM has been an Employee Stock Ownership Plan business. In 2009, AGM was honored by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce with the “America’s Best Small Business” award.


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