Knoxville Manufacturer Needs to Hire Many Employees Despite Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic


While other sectors of Tennessee’s economy languish during the COVID-19 pandemic, officials at Republic Plastics in Knoxville want to hire people for several new positions, including full-time machine operators and other manufacturing positions.

Staff at Republic Plastics manufacture custom private label foam tableware, including plates, bowls, food containers, and more for individual homes, restaurants, and hospitals.

People have high demand for this product, especially now, said Republic Plastics spokeswoman Suzanne McGowan.

“Our product that we produce is Styrofoam. And Styrofoam is disposable, and we have a lot of restaurants that are closed, obviously, in Tennessee with it being shut down,” McGowan said.

“A lot of people are purchasing the Styrofoam because they are having to eat outside and take food to people. Then, with the coronavirus, people are very self-conscious about not reusing items, so that has caused an influx. This is coming into our busy season and then summer is coming.”

McGowan said the company has 42 positions to fill, and that company officials “are desperate for machine operators.” Republic Plastics operates 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Employees work 12-hour shifts, McGowan said.

Company officials want employees who are already in the Knoxville area. Company officials also want employees with at least three months of prior manufacturing experience. Company officials are hiring to replace former employees, and they are also hiring to fill new positions, McGowan said.

“We have some people who have left due to the coronavirus for various reasons. We are very strict with our attendance. We have a point system that we go by,” McGowan said.

“If they are late they can rack up points pretty quick because they have to be able to work as a team, and if someone on your team is missing that just puts extra work on everybody on your team. We have a culture that is like none other in manufacturing. And I always encourage everyone to please come to the work facility because it is a culture where you actually see people that enjoy being there. We just try to take care of our employees.”

To apply, visit Republic Plastics’ website or call (865) 223-4739.

– – –

Chris Butler is an investigative journalist at The Tennessee Star. Follow Chris on Facebook. Email tips to [email protected]




Related posts

2 Thoughts to “Knoxville Manufacturer Needs to Hire Many Employees Despite Effects of COVID-19 Pandemic”

  1. 83ragtop50

    I have observed locally a large number of help wanted signs over the past month. I was in a Food Lion this morning and it is hiring. Is it possible that the government has made unemployment payments too high?

  2. Cannoneer2

    Styrofoam takes hundreds of years to degrade in the environment. When microwaved, it releases leftover monomeric styrene that remains from the process of polymerization. Styrene is a carcinogen. Pick another polymer.