LOUISVILLE, Ky. – Batmaker Louisville Slugger said it reinstated 171 employees on leave after receiving a loan from a government program to help small businesses.
Hillerich & Bradsby Co. resumed production at its Louisville wooden bat factory on Monday as parts of the Kentucky economy reopened after weeks of shutdowns due to the coronavirus outbreak. The bat factory had been inactive for nearly two months amid the global pandemic.
The company did not disclose the amount of the loan it received under the paycheck protection program. But he said the cash injection was instrumental in reintegrating the 171 employees on leave – about 90% of its workforce – back into the payroll last week.
“Ending leave and reinstating everyone was made possible when H&B received P3 program funds,” Hillerich & Bradsby spokesperson Rick Redman said in a statement Tuesday.
Many employees on leave have returned to work, including several dozen who work in the factory, Redman said. Others are gradually being reinstated in various operations, he said. Thirty-eight employees of the Pennsylvania lumber division also returned to work on Monday, according to Redman.
The company said it has resumed bat production at the Louisville plant with new health and safety protocols that include twice-daily temperature checks and masks for its employees and social distancing standards on workstations and in the break room.
Workers began to fill orders for some of the big leagues.
Bat production resumed the same day the owners of Major League Baseball approved a proposal to the players’ union that could cause the coronavirus season to be delayed from the weekend of July 4 in stadiums without fans. An agreement with the players’ association is necessary.
H&B, a family business, is the wooden bat manufacturing partner of Wilson Sporting Goods, which purchased the famous Louisville Slugger brand from H&B in 2015.