UAW Pressure: Ford Further Postpones NA Production Restart

AutoInformed on the COVID-19 Pandemic

Ford Motor can build other things than big trucks.

Ford is delaying its planned restart – announced less than one-week ago – of certain North America plants to help protect its workers. (Ford to Restart Production at North American Plants?)

In a duh statement Ford admitted: “Ford and autoworkers’ unions – especially the UAW – are working closely on initiatives to keep the workforce safe, including upgrading social distancing guidelines, requiring the workers to self-certify daily that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms – and more.”

Ford wanted to restart production 6 April  at Hermosillo Assembly Plant and April 14 at several key U.S. plants – and now has further postponed startup dates, which will be announced later.

The health and safety of our workforce, dealers, customers, partners and communities remains our highest priority,” claimed Kumar Galhotra, Ford president, North America, in words that were belied up until now with planned actions.

Ford wants to restart Rawsonville Components Plant the week of April 20 to produce the Model A-E ventilator, in collaboration with GE Healthcare, supported by paid volunteer UAW workers. “The Model A-E ventilator is a basic, cost-efficient design that addresses the needs of most COVID-19 patients. Production will quickly scale up to produce 50,000 ventilators by July 4 – helping to meet the growing demand in the U.S. Approximately 500 paid volunteer UAW workers will be building these ventilators. At this time, ventilator production will be the only work being done at the Rawsonville plant,” said Ford.

“Today’s decision by Ford is the right decision for our members, their families and our nation,” said UAW International President Rory Gamble. “Under Vice President Gerald Kariem, the UAW Ford Department continues to work closely with our local unions and Ford to make sure that as we return to production all members are safe, and our communities are protected from this spreading pandemic.”

When Rawsonville Components Plant begins production of ventilators, the workforce will take additional health measures. Workers will have to self-certify online every day that they are not experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms. If they are, they will not be allowed to work. Work stations will be spaced at least six feet apart to maintain proper social distancing. Shifts will be separated so there is no contact between workers in the different shifts.

About Ken Zino

Ken Zino is an auto industry veteran with global experience in print, broadcast and electronic media. He has auto testing, marketing, public relations and communications expertise garnered while working in Asia, Europe and the U.S.
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