Tillamook creamery association pledges $4M for COVID relief

Oregon

Nearly 700 workers are still physically going to work at manufacturing plants

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — The Tillamook County Creamery Association announced a $4 million relief plan Wednesday. The co-op, best known for it’s Tillamook dairy products, plans to help its employees and communities recover from the COVID-19 crisis.

While many food manufacturers have suffered from decreasing demand from restaurants and schools, as well as supply chain issues, Tillamook CEO Patrick Criteser told KOIN 6 News they’ve managed to avoid some of those problems.

The “lion’s share” of Tillamook’s business is grocery and retail operations, Criteser said. That business has been up 40-50% since about mid-March.

“For our employees and our farmers, we’ve all been very proud of the role that we’re playing in meeting the increased demand for at-home food in the nation in a time of crisis,” he said.

Now, Tillamook wants to give back, starting with their employees. Nearly 700 workers are still physically going to work at manufacturing plants, and several hundred more are working remotely, according to the association. The company is pledging to expand sick leave, offer premium pay for front-line manufacturing workers, and maintain full wages and benefits for employees who were working at the temporarily closed Tillamook Creamery visitor center.

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The company is also pledging to support local nonprofits and businesses, starting with $200,000 to the Oregon Food Bank and $100,000 to the Oregon Community Foundation. Tillamook has also made smaller pledges to early learning and youth-focused organizations.

“We’re focusing first on the people and the communities that have supported us for over a century … the places where our farmers and our employees work and live,” Criteser said. “But we’re also looking for ways that we can contribute to the significant needs that are developing due to this COVID situation across the state and in other places where we have a presence throughout the country.”

Continuing Coverage: Coronavirus

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