Thomas Econometrics Inc.
Wednesday, April 17, 2013 from 1:30 to 3:15 PM Eastern
Thursday, March 21, 2013 from 1:30 - 3:00 PM Eastern
Friday, March 15, 2013 from 1:00 - 2:30 PM Eastern
Amidst rising age discrimination claims and older workers often futile search for employment, one Massachusetts’ company is making headlines for valuing its aging workforce.
As Rosa Finnegan, an employee with family owned and operated Vita Needle Company, points out, “I’d rather be here than almost anywhere. You feel like you’re still a worthwhile person, even though you’re old.” Like her younger counterparts, Rosa carpools to work, jokes with co-workers and goes home ready to relax at the end of the day.
She may have many years on some of the workforce, but Rosa has a desire to keep working and is blessed with an employer who values her work ethic, experience and abilities, even at her advanced age. In fact, when Rosa celebrated her 100th birthday earlier this year, CEO Fred Hartman and her fellow employees honored her with a birthday cake during morning break time. As soon as she finished her slice of cake she went right back to work.
Rosa isn’t the only one who is forgoing a retirement party. The median age of employees at Vita Needle is 74 years. For these workers, age is just a number. They feel important, are appreciated for what they do and they aren’t going anywhere.
Vita Needle’s older workers can be found doing everything from taking orders to manual labor such as shipping packages.
The company, founded in 1932, is now run by the fifth generation of the Hartman family and Frederick Hartman II, the company’s director of marketing and engineering, says the older workers are loyal and take pride in their finished products that are often used in medical applications to save or improve lives. He points out that although his staff may not be the fastest on the job, “quality of work compensates for slower speed. Attention to detail is also better.”
The trend of hiring older workers at Vita Needle began when they turned to older workers for part-time help during a 1980s labor shortage. The company has seen some changes over the years and has branched out with its product offerings, but one thing remains: the hiring policy set forth decades ago still works for both the company and its employees.