Back to work. Ford, GM and Fiat Chrysler restart US factories

1 month 3 weeks 2 days ago Monday, May 18 2020 May 18, 2020 Monday, May 18, 2020 7:48:00 AM CDT May 18, 2020 in News
By: Peter Valdes-Dapena (CNN)

(CNN) -- General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler will begin to gradually restart their US factories Monday, with some big changes put in place to help protect workers from the coronavirus.

At Ford 59,000 factory workers, about 80% of the workforce, are expected to show up for work, according to the company. At GM, about 15,000 of the company's 48,000 factory workers are expected to report to work on Monday, with more expected to report in coming weeks as the ramp up in production continues, a spokesperson for the company said. Meanwhile, about a third of Fiat Chrysler's hourly workforce, or about 16,000, are expected to start Monday, according to the company.

The workplaces they will be returning to will look somewhat different from the ones they left in mid-March.

"We work really hard at imagining a world with Covid-19 in an assembly plant," said Ford CEO Jim Hackett in an interview with CNN Friday. "So they have lots of consideration, of course, for social distancing. We used to have two people, for example, that would be inside the vehicle as it's going down the assembly line. We stopped that."

All three companies have said they would thoroughly and frequently clean facilities and allot extra time between work shifts to do so. At Ford, for instance, factories that had been running on three shifts, or essentially around the clock, will work on two shifts to allow extra time for cleaning. At Fiat Chrysler factories, 10 minutes per shift will be allotted for cleaning.

The automakers said they will also screen employees with questionnaires before they leave for work and administer temperature checks as they enter plants or other facilities.

Employees who have recently been exposed to someone with the coronavirus or exhibit a high temperature or other Covid-19-related symptoms will be sent to local clinics for testing before they are allowed to return to work.

While in factories, employees will work at least six feet apart from one another whenever possible, the companies said. Employee workstations will be separated by clear plastic panels. Workers will also wear surgical-style face masks and clear plastic face shields or goggles whenever they're required to work close to one another. Ford will also be testing watches that warn wearers if they get too close to someone who is also wearing one of the devices, Hackett said.

All three companies will also make changes to how "common areas," such as dining areas, are used in order to keep employees apart from one another. Fiat Chrysler shared an image of a break area table that normally seats six that now has plastic dividers that reduce its seating to three.

These practices are based, in part, on the experiences at the companies' factories that have reopened in Asia and Europe.

"Absolutely, I would feel comfortable sending my family to work at Ford," Ford's chief operating officer, Jim Farley, said recently when asked how confident he felt in the steps the company was taking.

Both Ford and GM have also been operating a few plants in the US in order to make personal protective equipment and ventilators for healthcare workers. Ford has also been manufacturing face masks for its own workers around the world. Both companies also have some warehouses operating to distribute parts for repairs. Workers at those US plants have been trying out the safety protocols and equipment that will go into wider use in the US as factories reopen.

Employees at Ford's currently operating US plants will be sharing their experiences with other employees. Among other things, they will describe what it's like working with masks and face shields on and the best ways to wear and use them, said Kiersten Robinson, Ford's chief human resources officer.

More News

Grid
List
COLUMBIA - Columbia's mask ordinance officially went into place at 5 p.m. on Friday, but many businesses in the city... More >>
10 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 5:35:00 PM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA — Summer sport leagues in Columbia have been trying to keep athletes safe amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Mid-Missouri... More >>
11 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 4:36:00 PM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
HUNTSVILLE - An employee at the Randolph County Sheriff's Department was fired after body camera video was released to a... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 3:49:00 PM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - Police are looking into two reports of indecent conduct on the MKT Trail, both of which happened within... More >>
12 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 3:39:00 PM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA- Tiger Academy of Gymnastics is hosting a summer camp for kids to attend, but it is going to look... More >>
13 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 2:22:00 PM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – As Boone County struggles to keep up with the need for contact tracing in the community, volunteers are... More >>
15 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 12:49:00 PM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - UM System leaders unveiled a new plan to bring broadband access to a rural pilot community on Wednesday.... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 12:09:00 PM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY - The Bicentennial Bridge project is a $3.75 million dollar bridge to connect the Missouri State Capitol Complex... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 11:51:43 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump has approved Missouri’s request for a federal disaster declaration for severe storms in... More >>
16 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 11:38:46 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA – The city mask ordinance for Columbia goes into effect at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, and education will be... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 11:00:00 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA (Missourian) - In the midst of Missouri’s budget crisis, $125 million from the CARES Act will help higher... More >>
17 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 10:42:31 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
COOPER/BOONE/CALLAWAY COUNTY - Crews will begin striping work on I-70 on Sunday, and the work will continue into August. ... More >>
20 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 8:01:00 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
(CNN) -- Kansas City Chief's player Mitchell Schwartz spoke out on Thursday about DeSean Jackson's anti-Semitic social media posts ,... More >>
21 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 6:45:00 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
As COVID-19 continues to spread, KOMU 8 will continue to update you about impacts in the community. You can... More >>
23 hours ago Friday, July 10 2020 Jul 10, 2020 Friday, July 10, 2020 4:29:00 AM CDT July 10, 2020 in News
CALLAWAY COUNTY - Deputies have identified the man whose body was found near Millersburg on Thursday as 31-year-old Ervin Hayes... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 7:36:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
BOONE COUNTY- Businesses outside the city limits of Columbia are now having to decide what to do about the mask... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 6:33:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
COLUMBIA - The COVID-19 pandemic changed a lot about how we live, and unemployment benefits weren't left out. Unemployment... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 5:45:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
JEFFERSON CITY – As cases are beginning to spike, some counties are struggling to keep up with the demand for... More >>
1 day ago Thursday, July 09 2020 Jul 9, 2020 Thursday, July 09, 2020 5:38:00 PM CDT July 09, 2020 in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 71°
5am 68°
6am 69°
7am 72°
8am 76°