The CEO of a New Jersey-based bicycle manufacturing business says extended unemployment benefits are no longer necessary and it’s time for people to get vaccinated and get back to work.
Arnold Kamler, chairman and CEO of Kent International, which also has two factories in South Carolina, says New Jersey should follow the example of South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who is ending extended unemployment benefits for residents of that state at the end of June.
“In South Carolina, Governor McMaster is pushing for immediate withdrawal from the federal unemployment extended benefits, and obviously we support that,” Kamler said during the May 11 New Jersey Business Coalition virtual town hall. “It just paid people more money, in some of the jobs, to stay home than to work. It’s just not American.”
Kamler said he supported McMasters’ action because extended unemployment benefits have made it a “struggle” to hire people both this year and last year. “These extended unemployment benefits are not necessary anymore.”
Kamler said the remote workforces are not a solution for his business, and others like his, so the key is to make sure people are vaccinated and return to their factories and offices. He said 80% of his New Jersey employees are back in the company headquarters and he is going to offer them all a “substantial bonus” once 100% of the employees are vaccinated and back in the office.
“We just want everyone back here and to me the key is vaccination,” Kamler said. “The key to getting our economy back on track is to get everyone vaccinated.”
Kamler lamented all the vaccine misinformation and “conspiracy theories” on social media that have made people fearful of vaccines. He shared a story about a pizza place near his business where someone told him they refused to be vaccinated because vaccines contain “tracking devices.”
“So, I said, ‘Look I can help you with that,” Kamler recounted. “I said give me your phone. I’ll throw it in the garbage, and you won’t have any more problems with tracking.”
More than 175 people attended the New Jersey Business Coalition’s town hall, including about 20 federal and state legislators or their staffs.