JANESVILLE

After a worker shortage, a manufacturer of medium-duty freight and refrigerated vans and trucks will be temporarily raising wages and making 150 new hires to keep up with demand stemming from e-commerce.

Morgan Truck Body, 3100 E. Morgan Way, announced a full-time and part-time wage increase of $2 per hour Monday. Existing and newly hired manufacturing and service center workers will receive a minimum of $17 per hour ending Oct. 3.

Applicants are contacted within 48 hours of applying, and jobs are offered the same day as the interview. A $1,000 hiring bonus is provided for new hourly employees beginning work prior to Aug. 31. Applicants for whom English is a second language are welcome, and most positions require no prior experience.

While the wage increase ends Oct. 3, the jobs will remain after that date.

The minimum starting wage at Morgan Truck Body was $15, Morgan’s Vice President of Human Resources Brady Bagwan said. Those with more skills such as welders and painters will have higher starting wages, he said.

When asked if the company would consider extending the temporary pay increases, Bagwan said it is possible.

“The company makes decisions based on market conditions. If the market conditions require additional investment, the company will make that decision at that time,” he said.

The wage increase is provided for all 200 existing hourly manufacturing and service center employees in Janesville, as well as 150 or more new hourly manufacturing and service center positions.

Jobs are available for entry-level and experienced workers for positions including production assemblers, welders, painters, material handlers, quality control technicians and team leaders.

Bagwan said the company’s worker shortage predates the pandemic as people were beginning to use e-commerce more even before the pandemic-driven boom. Finding workers in the Janesville area was particularly challenging.

As the pandemic set in, the shortage became more pronounced because of more residential deliveries from retailers and increased demand for transportation of medical equipment, supplies and vaccines.

Morgan is the largest manufacturer of medium-duty freight and refrigerated van and truck bodies in North America. The company employs more than 2,300 hourly workers at 14 locations across the United States and Canada.

The worker shortage, Bagwan said, is a macroeconomic issue across the country.

“You just have fewer folks of subsequent generations choosing to work in manufacturing,” he said.

Bagwan said it’s a supply problem that requires collaboration between governments, educational institutions and private organizations to solve.

When asked whether ending the $300 in enhanced unemployment insurance might result in more workers, Bagwan said statistics indicate it would result in only a 10% to 15% increase in available labor in the Janesville market.

Despite hardships, Bagwan said the second largest Morgan Truck facility nationwide is in Janesville and has been meeting customer demand.

“They have a lot of core team members that help all the people we hire be productive,” he said. “They are effective at absorbing a large volume of hires.”

Nationally, the average length of service at Morgan Truck is five years, with many employees serving 30 to 45 years.

Morgan specializes in the manufacture of box truck and straight truck bodies to serve the dry freight, refrigerated and contracting industries. Truck bodies accommodate cargo of every configuration, including parcel delivery, furniture, heavy equipment, insulated and refrigerated units, bottled gas and more.

While refrigerated truck demand has increased, the biggest selling item is dry freight truck bodies. Bagwan said people seek Morgan’s products for their quality and durability.

“The truck bodies outlast the chassis they sit on,” he said.

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