by Heidi Riley
At PEI Bag Company in Bedeque, work is busier than ever, and 95 percent of the workforce enjoys the work they do.
In 2020, Detry Carragher, Chartered Professional in HR with Carvo Group, administered a survey to the employees at PEI Bag Company to determine their satisfaction with their workplace. “We found that 95 percent of the employees enjoy their work and are generally quite satisfied with workplace health and safety, support, and leadership on the job.
“However, that high number doesn’t mean the work stops to ensure employee satisfaction stays high. PEI Bag Company continues to make improvements to pay structures, working conditions, equipment upgrades, training programs, and communication.”
About the company
Since 1935, PEI Bag Company has supplied packaging to industries such as agriculture, aquaculture, produce, and construction.
The company’s annual sales are about $10 million. PEI customers in the potato, produce, and aquaculture industries are the foundation of the business. However, they also have large customers in Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, and across Canada in Ontario, Quebec, and western Canada. About a dozen years ago, PEI Bag Company started selling products into the US market, and now 20 percent of sales are from the eastern seaboard of the US.
“PEI Bag Company is projected to grow into the fall and over next few years, and we need to expand our workforce,” says Thane Smallwood, General Manager. “We would be happy to hire at least 20 more staff.”
Close to 50 people work there now, year-round, including some foreign workers. “About half of our employees have been with PEI Bag Company between 10 and 35 years,” says Thane. “Our long-term staff members are the foundation of our company. However, as we expand our sales, and as folks move on to different careers, we are always looking for new employees.
“Typically, most of our new employees start in entry-level positions, and then as they are successful, they have the opportunity for other machine helper and operator positions.
“Some new hires have previous experience in manufacturing or as machine operators, and they can start immediately at higher levels, depending on their individual experience and skill. As we grow, opportunities will present themselves.”
The company is currently posting job opportunities for Quality Control/Labourers, whose starting wage is $15/hour, $16/hour when fully trained. Equipment Operators start at $16 per hour and earn $17.50/hour when training is completed. Employees receive overtime pay after 40 hours and a premium for evening hours worked. Medical and pension benefits are all available after standard waiting periods.
- Safe indoor workplace, clothing allowance, and great work hours
- More stable job through an economic downturn
- Benefits package with medical, dental, defined contribution pension plan, and employee assistance programs (eligibility requirements apply)
- Job-specific training is provided
- More opportunity for growth as new skills are learned
The company runs two production shifts from Monday through Friday:
- 6 am – 2 pm
- 2 pm – 10 pm
Overtime may be offered or required to meet operational demands.
“The most important skill a new employee can bring to any workplace is integrity and work ethic. This builds trust between coworkers, supervisors, and the employee. Most other skills can be taught with proper training programs.
“When we hire Machine Operators, ideally, we look for a solid mechanical aptitude or experience working in a production environment. However, some of our most successful new hires have transferred to manufacturing via service industries as well,” says Thane.
- Machine Operator
- Quality Control Labourer
- Printing Press Operator
- Printing Press Helper
- Production Supervisor
- Maintenance Operator
- Delivery Driver to move product throughout the Maritimes and the United States
- Customer Service Support to answer phones, take orders, organize shipping/ transportation, and more The best way to apply is through the website.
Inside the PEI Bag Company in Central Bedeque
by Gloria Welton
Judy Peters from Summerside has worked with the company for 16 years. She is a Team Leader/Quality Control, and she also is a laminator, fixes the sewing machines, and takes care of all the documentation for her area. Through the years, she has gained experience on most aspects of the manufacturing areas.
“I have been in my present role for about four years, and I love the responsibilities and the variety. I like the team of people I work with, and the hours of work. The pay and benefits are good.”
Her advice to new people being hired is to work hard, and it will pay off. “Showing initiative is something we all like to see in each other. I have great people working with me who just started, and because they are taking a strong interest in their work, I am able to move them around a bit and let them try other areas of the facility.”
Jason Arsenault from Summerside is a Machine Operator and has worked for the company for 18 years.
“My responsibilities are to watch my machine and oversee the other staff on my line. When I first advanced to my present position, I was nervous, but now I have a system that works well for me and the people I am responsible for. A lot of our staff have been here for a long time but now we are starting to fill up with new staff.
“It is important that new staff be very observant on the floor, punctual, and ask questions. I am so impressed when I see someone sweeping the floor when there is some downtime. It is important for me to keep the facility in order and it certainly helps when others have the same mentality.”
Visit www.peibag.com and click careers to find a list of open positions, videos, and contact information.