Whitmer Relents, Ford Goes Back to Work on May 18th
No longer the odd man out among its Detroit rivals, Ford Motor Company has issued an official restart date for North American production. May 18th is to be the beginning of a phased restart, the automaker said, which is in keeping with return dates offered up by General Motors and Fiat Chrysler earlier this week.
After the UAW signaled its approval of those earlier announcements, all that was left was confirmation from Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer that workers could indeed return. On Thursday, Whitmer extended the state’s stay-at-home order until May 28th (the measure was previously expected to expire May 15th), but gave auto manufacturers the green light to go ahead.
“We’ve been working intently with state and federal governments, our union partners and a cross-section of our workforce to reopen our North American facilities,” said Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley in a statement. “We have reopened our facilities in China, successfully begun our phased restart in Europe and have been producing medical equipment in Michigan for more than six weeks and are using the lessons from all of that to ensure we are taking the right precautions to help keep our workforce here safe.”
A reduced workforce and extensive health measures — outlined in a playbook distributed company-wide — will greet returning workers. Parts depots will come back online May 11th, Ford said, with assembly plants firing up May 18th. Those that one operated on three shifts will, for a period of time, operate on two. Two-shift plants will move to a single shift, while single-shift operations will remain unchanged.
Two plants — Flat Rock Assembly in Michigan and Oakville Assembly in Ontario — will return on May 25th with one shift each.
Ford said earlier that a regional restart wouldn’t work without Michigan’s critical mass of parts suppliers. A widespread return to work for those not able to operate from home was made possible by Whitmer’s “MI Safe Start Plan,” which allowed manufacturing workers to return this coming Monday.
The state’s plan, which garnered the enthusiastic backing of UAW President Rory Gamble, outlines health measures already included in protocol outlined by the Detroit Three. Among them, daily entry screenings, symptom checklists, temperature checks, sanitization and physical distancing measures. Ford’s measures encompasses these criteria and more, with the automaker’s vision of its facilities seeming more like a bio-lab than an auto plant.
As for production, the automaker’s output will be curtailed for an unspecified length of time.
“The ramp-up process will be gradual as workers adjust to the new health and safety protocols and the entire supply chain comes up to speed,” Ford stated.
Thelaine on May 09, 2020
New research reported in The New York Times indicates that a wave of infections swept from New York City through much of the United States before the city instituted social distancing requirements to stem the tide. Coronavirus spread from New York to states as far afield as Louisiana, Ohio, Idaho, Wisconsin, Texas, Arizona, and even the West Coast, according to geneticists who tracked signature mutations of the virus, travel histories of infected people, and models of the outbreak from infectious disease experts. “We now have enough data to feel pretty confident that New York was the primary gateway for the rest of the country,” Nathan Grubaugh, an epidemiologist at the Yale School of Public Health, told The New York Times. While travel from other cities like Seattle also sparked infections across the country, New York City was the primary launching pad of the coronavirus in the U.S. “It looks like most of the domestic spread is basically people traveling out from New York,” Dr. Kari Stefansson, founder and chief executive of deCODE Genetics, a leading genome analysis firm based in Reykjavik, Iceland, told The Times. Overall, Dr. Grubaugh estimated that viruses spreading from New York account for 60 to 65 percent of the infections identified across the country.
EBFlex on May 10, 2020
Good for Ford. No business should be hamstrung by activist mayors and governors that want this damage to the economy and the country to continue. It's no wonder that the loudest advocates to keeping the country on "time out" are the ones that swing left. No critical thought given, just repeat the party line like a good little puppet. We have ample evidence that the lock downs were not effective and did far more harm than good. But now, because we are opening back up at the same time we are doing more and more tests (thus making it appear as if opening up is making infection rates rise), the pro lock down/pro social distancing mouth breathers will cry and whine that they were right and that it was dangerous to reopen. Even despite the lock downs, TRUE infection rates are much higher than reported and the death numbers have stayed the same. All this nonsense for a illness that has a .1% death rate.
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