Congressman hears concerns from local workforce

By Blythe Alspaugh - [email protected]

SIDNEY — Local U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan heard concerns from a local manufacturing company during his visit to Sidney Thursday, Feb. 17.

“It was nice to have him hear our concerns, so we could voice our opinions on what we need in this area,” Derby Fabricating Solutions Plant Manager Michael Brinkmann said.

Derby Fabricating Solutions was founded in Louisville, Kentucky, in 1977 and has been part of the Shelby County business community for over 20 years. The business specializes in supplying interior and exterior components for the automotive industry with capabilities such as die cutting, adhesive lamination and custom assemblies. Some manufactured products include acoustical insulation, arm rest and console pads, bin mats and cup holder components, cowl seats, vent seals and flaps, door panel and lift gate inserts, gaskets, air and water seals and spoiler and body side molding tapes.

Since the onset of the pandemic, Derby Fabricating has been hit hard by the employee shortage in the area, as well as supply chain issues—most notably with chip shortages—and the rise in inflation. Brinkmann said that last week, material prices increased as much as 13% on some items. These price increases happen at random, and all the issues combined create many hurdles for the company and its workforce to jump over.

“There’s no end. The shortages cause us havoc on our schedules, causing us to go into overtime situations, which hurts our company profit-wise, as well as employees not getting to spend weekends at home,” Brinkmann said.

Despite the challenges Derby Fabricating is currently facing, the company has received recognition through OSHA Safety & Health Achievement Recognition Program (SHARP). Of Derby Fabricating’s four locations, the Sidney facility is the only one that has received OSHA SHARP recognition.

“I believe in employee safety. I don’t want anybody losing an arm or a leg,” Brinkmann said. “I’m real proud that we’re certified to that. We take employee safety very seriously. Our employees enjoy participating in it, as well, and they feel safe, that they’re not going to have any harm come to them.”

From Jordan’s perspective, the concerns in Sidney are consistent with concerns across the district, the state and the county—according to him, all of which are driven by current policies implemented by the Biden administration.

“Our district has one of the top manufacturing districts in the county, out of the 435 congressional districts, our manufacturing output is always near the top. The concerns are all driven by the bad policies from the Biden administration. I always say, when you pay people not to work, you shouldn’t be surprised when you can’t find workers, and that’s the problem across the country right now,” Jordan said.

Despite the issues with a struggling workforce and the supply chain, Jordan said that Derby Fabricating’s commitment to their mission speaks volumes to the hard work of the men and women in Shelby County.

“That’s the work ethic and the culture in West Central Ohio. I’ve often said that, if the whole world was like West Central Ohio, we’d be just fine,” Jordan said. “The work ethic, the people and the families over here are just tremendous, and it’s always a real pleasure to get a chance to represent them in the United States Congress.”

In addition to touring Derby Fabrications, Jordan toured much of Sidney on Thursday, stopping at Amelio’s Pizzeria and visiting with Mayor Mardie Milligan, Chamber of Commerce President Jeff Raible and Sidney-Shelby County Economic Partnership Executive Director Jim Hill.

By Blythe Alspaugh

[email protected]

Reach the writer at [email protected]

Reach the writer at [email protected]