The Greenbrier Companies, Inc. (NYSE:GBX) Q4 2020 Earnings Conference Call - Final Transcript
Oct 23, 2020 • 11:00 am ET
William A. Furman
We care about our employees, our customers and our communities. We launched a number of important programs during the year related to COVID-19 safety, community outreach, diversity and inclusion including environmental stewardship.
These are all part of our effort to address the uncertainty and to bring stability and optimism for the future. Unfortunately COVID-19 still has a grip on our nation and on much of the world. This may continue for some time. Greenbrier's experience with COVID-19 has followed the pattern seen throughout the U.S. and the world with declining cases and more recently -- and optimism during the summer months and a more recent upward spike. We continue to monitor the health and well-being of our global workforce and we have active protocols in place for potential COVID-19 exposures and clusters to be reported and acted upon immediately as they may appear. Each of our manufacturing plants is meeting or exceeding CDC requirements and recommendations as we protect our employees operating as an essential industry, while maintaining our other business activities.
Our requirements are being enforced by management with a high degree of discipline. Despite high community spread in some areas and in fact, in many areas where we operate around the world only a small percentage of our total global workforce has tested positively. This is relatively good news and its due in part to our policy of rapid response, strong health policies designed to prevent outbreaks and to address them quickly if they occurred within our factories. Our workforce exceeded 17,000 at the end of 2019 and reduced to 15,000 employees in early March and after rightsizing stands at just over 10,500 people today. Throughout that period and since March, we've had an average of about 13,500 employees.
I am saddened to report that four families have been affected by fatalities among our workforce. But on that population, we have the blessing of only having had four. Three employees residing in Mexico and one in Romania died after testing positive for the virus. Three out of the four had pre-existing conditions, but one was a healthy person in his 40s. Augustine Rodriguez passed away earlier this month. In August, Greenbrier also lost Octavio Perez, John Lorenzo Gonzalez and Constantine Gracina. Each of them is in our thoughts and we are aiding their families. Our remembrance of them includes a reminder about the need for all of us to remain diligent and vigilant with our own health and safety practices, to practice safe distancing, wear masks and to be alert to this medical crisis everywhere we go.
During the last earnings call, I discussed the core values of shape Greenbrier over the last 40 years as well as our ongoing commitment to support positive change. In September, we launched our formal ideal commitment, which stands for inclusion, diversity, equity, access and leadership. Other programs include an enhanced environmental, social and governance ESG program and report. Greenbrier's approach to ESG involves a number of steps to promote environmental responsibility.