Ford Motor Co on Thursday outlined the safety measures it will institute to restart its most profitable U.S. plants but did not specify when that would occur for North American facilities.
Ford shut down its facilities on March 18 amid outcry from the United Auto Workers that the company wasn’t doing enough to protect workers. With a new strategy in hand, Ford now says it is prepared to keep workers happy and resume operations. The UAW so far has not agreed to endorse reopening U.S. auto plants, even as workers in Europe and Asia are going back to their jobs.
Virtually all U.S. automotive production ground to a halt in March as the number of COVID-19 infections overgrew. The company late Tuesday reported a $2 billion loss in its first quarter and said it expects more losses in the second quarter. “It’s just really now getting the clarity from our government leaders because we’re ready,” Ford Chief Operating Officer Jim Farley said on a conference call with reporters. The company plans to implement strict social distancing rules when factories reopened.
Changes will also include temperature checks for all employees before entering, increased use of personal protective equipment as well as work station dividers. Executives also said “several options” would be available to employees with childcare issues as some states stagger first daycare facilities but did not explain in detail what those options would entail.