Ford Authority

UAW Asks Ford To Shut Down Dearborn Truck Plant And Test All Workers For COVID-19

Barely a week into the reopening of Ford’s U.S. plants, things appeared to be going rather smoothly. But then, both the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant and Ford Chicago Assembly Plant were shut down for roughly 24 hours after a few employees tested positive for COVID-19. And despite Ford implementing a wide range of new safety protocols at its facilities, the UAW Local 600 union – which represents workers at the Dearborn plant – has filed a grievance demanding additional actions from the automaker.

Those demands include asking Ford to shut down its Dearborn Truck Plant assembly lines until all workers can be tested for COVID-19. Additionally, the union is asking for additional break time, and wants Ford to complete a 24-hour shutdown every time a worker tests positive for the coronavirus, during which time the entire plant can be thoroughly cleaned and sanitized.

The UAW is looking to shut down the Dearborn Truck Plant immediately, at which point all 4,000 workers can be tested. Those who test negative can then return to work and the assembly lines can resume. Meanwhile, the additional 20 minutes of break time is being requested due to the complexity of the face masks workers must wear, which they say make physical labor more demanding.

“There’s no safe way to be back to work right now, but a safer way is for everybody to be tested,” said Gary Walkowicz, bargain committeeman at the Ford Dearborn Truck Plant. “I am sure there are people who are at work right now, they could have the virus and not show any symptoms or develop any symptoms, but they expose it to other folks.”

Ford has not commented on the grievance yet, but did issue a statement in response. “The safety of our workforce is our top priority. Working closely with the UAW and external experts in infectious disease and epidemiology, we have developed safety standards to protect our workforce; we follow those protocols at all Ford facilities globally. Our safety protocol continues to evolve as we learn more about COVID-19.”

So far, Ford has followed its self-imposed guidelines in response to workers testing positive for COVID-19, terms that the UAW previously agreed upon. That said, it’s understandable if Dearborn Truck Plant workers are apprehensive about returning to work, knowing that at least a couple of infected employees had been in that same space.

“People are worried coming back to work,” Walkowicz said, as reported by the Detroit Free Press. “We had the incident on Wednesday evening, and there was a lot of absenteeism that day, so they had to double the jobs up, which meant close proximity. So people were very concerned about that and it took awhile before we could get production really going.”

We imagine that keeping production going at the Dearborn Truck plant, which makes the F-150 pickup truck, is a high priority for The Blue Oval. After all, not only is the F-150 America’s best-selling truck, but it’s also the country’s best-selling vehicle of any kind. As a result, the vehicle is a significant contributor to FoMoCo’s bottom line, which was in the red by $2 billion during the first quarter of 2020, mostly due to the coronavirus pandemic and lack of vehicle production.

We’ll follow this grievance and will report back as we have it, so be sure to subscribe to Ford Authority for the latest Ford-related COVID-19 news and ongoing Ford news coverage.

Brett's lost track of all the Fords he's owned over the years and how much he's spent modifying them, but his current money pits include an S550 Mustang and 13th gen F-150.

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  1. Hi

    Wasting tests on people with no symptoms is idiotic and a waste of money.

    1. John Q Public

      Why is it a waste of time? Would you rather everything shut down again or just have those who are sick be quarantined?

  2. Gale

    Michigan had a lot of protesters demanding to reopen businesses in the state. So Ford reopens and now the people there want the plant shutdown. Can’t have the cake and eat it too.

  3. John Cartwright

    Close it down for the summer.Then reopen in the fall.Ford can afford it.They work you like a slave any way.And to all you people saying to suck it up……You try working in a 100 degree assembly plant with a mask on for 10-11 hours a day.6 days a week……You assholes would be the first ones going to medical because you couldn’t breath.You would pass out from the extreme heat……The medical frontline workers are working in an air conditioned environment.God bless them,but this is 2 totally different kind of scenarios we’re talking about.And all the service type jobs of waitressing and bartending,they’re in an air conditioned environment also while they serve drinks and “work” all day long.You can’t compare a real factory job to a person delivering food to a table.All you people think autoworkers are lazy and ignorant……All this started with China….You Commie assholes go and buy some more Chinese products and support them you love them so much.

    1. John Q Public

      Ford lost 2 billion dollars in the first quarter. To suggest they can afford to lose more than that for an additional 2 quarters seems fanciful. What’s wrong with cleaning the plant and then continuing to operate? Why will waiting until the fall help?

  4. Al Cornpone

    .. I can’t imagine … forcing a group of fat old men to go
    back to work making $83 an hour, 75 minute lunch breaks 2-45 minute
    daily breaks and whine and moan until getting everything you want.
    Ford- shut down. Close it all. For a year. Then start over with new
    happy faces making $24 an hour and working a full day.

  5. J.B

    Good grief get back to work you guys have the most personal protection available and you still cry, I’ve been working in a hot steel plant the entire time you were getting paid $900 + A week to sit at home, we’ve had several people test positive they were sent home to quarantine and we kept on working safely!

  6. Joe

    Close it down for the summer? There are close to 5000 Ford dealerships in the country. That would affect a lot more families then these idiots on the assembly line. Get to work. Quit this union hijack. There are plenty of people who would love to take those jobs. Good grief

  7. Cal Larfor

    The audacity of the bootlickers and shills in this comment section is repulsive. Corporations do not care about your safety. Only their profits matter. Similar to the machines in their plants, the workers are tools to increase the profits of the elites on top. If you’re anti union, you are anti humanity. Without the unions we will eventually back-peddle into some kind of dark age. The income disparity is already well on its way to making that a reality. Anyone here not familiar with the word Sycophant needs to read up on what you are acting like.


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