Ford Staggers Plant Start Dates for ‘Smoother Transition Back to Business’
The manufacturing industry was given the go-ahead to resume operations this week, but automakers gave suppliers a head start by waiting until Monday to reopen. Ford is calling about 71,000 hourly and salaried workers back next week as it opens all but two of its facilities.
Ford’s Flat Rock Assembly in Flat Rock, Mich., and its Oakville Assembly plant in Ontario, Canada, will reopen the week of May 25. Kelli Felker, Ford’s global manufacturing and communications manager told the Detroit Free Press that staggered start dates allows for a smoother transition back to business.
“We didn’t want to turn everything on at the same time,” she said. “We wanted to just do it more slowly.”
Earlier this week, Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett told Yahoo! Finance that workplace safety must remain a priority, but warned that a prolonged economic shutdown could cause more harm than the virus.
“There are two truths here and they’re in competition,” Hackett said. “It’s one of the biggest paradoxes. One is we’ve got to have safe work environments, and the other is if we keep the economy turned off we’re going to have a fate worse than some of the things that the virus is causing. So what you’ve got to do is ameliorate the conflict.”
In preparation for reopening, Ford said it set up its facilities to ensure social distancing among employees, and plans to institute daily and weekly cleanings, as well as non-contact temperature screenings for workers when they arrive at a building.