“...we are giving former contractual workers hope that the manufacturing industry is not synonymous with endo and low pay.” -- Mildred Baril, Plant Manager, Human Nature Carmelray Campus
Prior to Human Nature, I had worked with several big companies. I was happy I was getting a good salary, but I did not like it when the salaries of those in higher positions were way too much versus those on the lower ranks.
Here’s how I see it: I want a good salary, but I also want everybody in my sphere of work treated well. I understand contractualization from a business point of view but I am not a proponent of it.
After I resigned from my last job, I saw this Jobstreet advertisement for a Supply Chain executive for a company that manufactures an all natural bug spray - Human Nature. My son has G6PD deficiency, and this product caught my attention because other insect repellents make him break out in red welts and rashes. So I placed an application. I thought I’d also apply as a dealer for their products, killing two birds with one stone!
Long story short, I never got to apply as dealer because after my interview, I had to rush off to another appointment. But I did get the job.
I wasn’t afraid to join a startup, since I started my career as one of the pioneers for a major brand’s flour mills. My take was that, whether it worked out or not, at least I won’t be asking myself later on: What if? The advocacy of the company stirred something in my still idealistic nature so I wanted to be part of it.
At first, I was kind of amused because the mix of people in Human Nature is extreme. You work with GK (Gawad Kalinga) people who are from the bottom of the pyramid, and you also work with the “rich kids” – graduates of prestigious universities, speaking English with a twang. If you think about it, that’s like mixing oil and water and yet everyone was doing their very best to make the team-up work.
After some time, I left and ventured out believing I could influence other companies to adopt the same kind of principles Human Nature promoted. Yet I soon realized that I could not change the world on my own. Despite my repeated attempts to change the mind and policies of my next boss, profit - not people - was still number one. Here was Human Nature who values employees, so I thought: Why should I beat my head over something that I know is a lost cause? I found out that Human Nature was trying to build a plant somewhere in Laguna and that they needed QA Manager. I applied for whichever position I could be considered, and ended up helping establish its first manufacturing plant.
The hardworking personnel of the manufacturing plant at Human Nature's Carmelray Campus
What excites me the most about my work? I guess the thrill of new challenges. Being able to solve problems and operational issues really satisfies me. There will always be hair pulling and a lot of tempers, but being able to overcome these really makes me smile. I love talking to people and reading them to find out how they will react to a situation. I admit I am not known for my diplomacy but my philosophy is - if it gets me what I need, then the shortest method will always be the best. So I don’t beat around the bush.
For me, it all builds up to the big picture: We want Human Nature to be a benchmark in manufacturing processes as well as in practices. I envision our manufacturing facility rivaling the big multinational plants in terms of size and equipment.
But more than this - and I think that our personnel can attest to this more than I can - we are giving former contractual, agency-hired workers hope that the manufacturing industry is not synonymous with endo and low pay. Hope that manufacturing can one day be equivalent to security of tenure, good salary and humane treatment for all employees.
The women workers of Carmelray Campus with "Nanay" Mildred