Pittsburgh, Pa. – Printers and packagers have been specifically included as essential workers in the updated Guidance on the Essential Critical Infrastructure Workforce by the United States Department of Homeland Security’s Cyber Security and Infrastructure Agency (CISA) released on April 17, 2020. Printing Industries of America (PIA) petitioned the agency to recognize printing and packaging's essential nature along with the myriad of printed materials necessary to support the nation’s other critical infrastructure sectors during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over 40 states and numerous localities have enacted stay-at-home orders, many of which direct closures of non-essential businesses. While CISA’s guidance is not law nor a binding government regulation, it serves as an important benchmark by providing a standard definition of essential workers and encourages adoption by governors, county officials, and mayors. CISA estimates that approximately 75 percent of states have adopted its guidelines to create a more harmonious approach to determining which types of businesses remain open.
Earlier versions of the CISA guidance implied printing and packaging companies were essential as part of critical manufacturing supply chains, but absent an explicit definition, PIA member companies have faced confusion or work stoppages as individual states and municipalities issued a patchwork of stay-at-home orders. In several cases, print was excluded by certain states and the industry was forced to petition governors to amend the original order. This process has created havoc for the industry, its employees, and customers.
“From the onset of this pandemic, PIA’s member companies have sought to strike a delicate balance between remaining operational to support other critical infrastructure sectors while protecting public health and ensuring workplace safety," said Michael Makin, President & CEO of Printing Industries of America. "The CISA guidance will help ensure that the 700,000 print and packaging workers in supply chains supporting critical manufacturing sectors can remain an essential part of the American workforce."
“On behalf of PIA, the leading trade association representing the printing, packaging, mailing, and graphic communications industries, I would like to thank CISA for its extensive stakeholder outreach and collaboration during this unprecedented and tense time," said Makin. “America relies on print in times of national emergency, and print will proudly support our nation’s infrastructure and economy as we look hopefully toward recovery.”`