| April 3, 2020
By: John Regan
“The friend in my adversity I shall always cherish most. I can better trust those who helped to relieve the gloom of my dark hours than those who are so ready to enjoy with me the sunshine of my prosperity.”
Ulysses S. Grant
I thought of President Grant’s “friend in adversity” comment last week as the almost surreal progression of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis continued to affect every aspect of life here in Massachusetts. It struck me that there has never been a time in the 105-year history of Associated Industries of Massachusetts when the need for employers to join together as a community in common purpose has been more immediate.
The staff here at AIM has spent the past four weeks working around the clock to help members understand a cascade of new governmental orders and regulations that in many cases have forced them to suspend their businesses.
We have been on the phone with employers reduced to tears because they could no longer keep their employees working. We have helped manufacturing companies answer the call to re-orient their production to make much-needed medical equipment. We have worked with companies to determine whether they are essential enough to continue operating.
The AIM office is empty these days but make no mistake – we’re still here (remotely) fulfilling our responsibility to the 3,500 hard-working employers who make up this association. It is because of your loyal membership in AIM that we are able to ramp up and respond to a crisis like this one with reliable, actionable and responsive information and service.
So, in the middle of this challenging and emotional time, allow me to thank all of the members of AIM for your continued financial support of the work this organization does on behalf of Massachusetts employers. Thanks as well to our generous sponsors, who believe in the mission of AIM and who continue to be tremendous partners as we reshuffle our annual meeting and other public events.
I am pleased to report that our membership support remains strong and is, in fact, expanding as we provide critical services during the crisis:
- AIM has provided real-time updates on changing conditions and governmental orders through its blog and web resource pages. We also made the decision early on to open this premium content to all Massachusetts employers – members and non-members – for the duration of the crisis.
- The AIM Employer Hotline, which remains a members-only service, is answering more than 100 calls each day from member employers about topics ranging from emergency unemployment benefits to dealing with sick employees. We have increased our Hotline team from one person to five people to ensure that every call is taken, every question answered. Questions like: “What documentation do I need for paid leave under the Families First Act?” “Can I require employees to wear masks?”
- AIM and AIM HR Solutions have launched a free webinar series called Thirty on Thursday designed to provide clear, concise explanations of key government initiatives. More than 2,700 people have logged into sessions on topics such as the Families First Coronavirus Response Act and Small Business Administration loans.
- The unparalleled AIM Government Affairs team has interacted regularly with the Baker Administration as it seeks to control the pandemic while keeping essential businesses up and running. The team has also been in regular contact with the Massachusetts Legislature and our elected officials in Washington, DC, to ensure that government responses to the COVID pandemic are helpful.
Think of AIM as your friend in adversity. You may not need us every day, but it’s good to have us here during a crisis.