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Congresswoman Robin Kelly tours manufacturing plants as supply and labor shortages fuel higher prices at stores

Robin Kelly

Congresswoman Robin Kelly recently toured two local manufacturers, Plochman, Inc., in Manteno and Morrison Container Handling Solutions in Glenwood, as supply and labor shortages continue to plague the American economy.

The shortages are fueling inflation concerns at supermarkets where consumers are paying higher prices for meat and dairy products. There are concerns that many families will not be able to afford to purchase turkeys and other items this Thanksgiving. Plochman, Inc., founded in Chicago in 1852, manufactures mustard that is found on millions of American dinner tables. Morrison Container Handling Solutions was founded in 1971 and manufactures custom container handling systems, timing screws and change parts for the packaging industry. Congresswoman Kelly and facility staff were also joined for their tour by representatives of Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC), including President David Boulay. “Manufacturers in my district and across the country have struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic. From supply chain issues to labor shortages, it has been difficult for many facilities to remain up and running throughout the past 18 months,” said Congresswoman Kelly.

Robin Kelly at Plochman's Mustard
CONGRESSWOMAN ROBIN KELLY talks to executives of Plochman’s during the visit to the mustard manufacturer.

“Plochman and Morrison have adopted innovation and flexibility to continue meeting the needs of their customers. Today we had a good discussion of the challenges and successes they’ve experienced over the past year and a half, and I look forward to bringing what I learned here today back to Washington. These visits were a wonderful way to kick off Manufacturing Month, and I look forward to continuing this month by fighting for critical investments for manufacturers and workforce development in the Build Back Better Act.”

“Manufacturers are at the heart of Illinois communities. As we take time during manufacturing month to celebrate them and their resiliency, it is also important to form a solid plan for supply chain disruptions and an increased demand for up-skilling workforces with education and training programs,” said David Boulay, president of the Illinois Manufacturing Excellence Center (IMEC).

“Taking the time today to learn the resources needed straight from the manufacturers themselves is an important step to a more competitive future right here in our state.”

“At Plochman’s, Inc., we’re committed to the highest safety and manufacturing standards,” said Plochman’s Plant Manager Martin Faye. “We rely on a dedicated workforce to help us manufacture our delicious mustard, and our business is made stronger by trade and career educational programs. Like many manufacturers, we have faced challenges throughout the COVID-19 pandemic with supply chain issues and we have had to remain flexible and innovative to keep our valued workforce safe. We appreciate Congresswoman Kelly’s visit to our facility and her work to improve career education and supply chain resilience.”

“We were honored to host Congresswoman Kelly, so she could see the investment we are making in this community firsthand,” stated Nancy Wilson, CEO of Morrison Container Handling Solutions. “Her dedication to educational programs that advance young minds into engineering, manufacturing, and trade careers aligns precisely with our mission, values, and passion at Morrison. With continuing emphasis on this effort by Congresswoman Kelly and Morrison, I am confident we can work together to impact workforce development in this Chicago Southland community.”

Kelly has worked to include supply chain resilience funding in the Build Back Better Act. Additionally, the Energy and Commerce Committee next week will hold a hearing on a bipartisan supply chain resilience bill introduced by Kelly.

Supply chain issues have become a hallmark of the COVID-19 pandemic as manufacturers struggle to maintain steady access to needed parts and supplies. As the economy rebuilds, early identification of supply chain issues is critical to supporting American manufacturers.

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