Ford now talking June, July

By Phoebe Wall Howard - Detroit Free Press

DETROT — For salaried Ford employees wondering when it’ll be time to get out of their pajamas and leave home on a workday, the answer is likely by late June or early July in the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Pointing to that time frame, Kiersten Robinson, Ford’s chief human resources officer, said the Dearborn-based automaker has implemented workplace protections to allow a staggered return in North America.

The company released the following plans for formal COVID-19 safety measures:

• Daily online health self-certifications completed before work every day.

• No-touch temperature scans upon arrival.

• Providing all employees a care kit including a face mask and hand sanitizer.

• Safety glasses with side shields or face shields, if needed.

• Increased cleaning and disinfecting of facilities.

• Hand sanitation stations

“The bottom line is, based on all the information we have access to, we will not have a reliable and scale-able testing solution for several weeks and it may even be months,” Robinson said. “Longer term, we do think it’s going to be critical. Unfortunately, that solution is not available to us. Hopefully in coming weeks, if not months, that will be part of our protocol.”

But Ford is making arrangements to set up rapid testing of employees as needed with local hospitals, said Gary Johnson, Ford chief manufacturing and labor affairs officer.

There is no target date for a factory restart at this time, Ford emphasized. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer currently has a stay-at-home order in place until May 15.

Ford employees in China have already been returning to the workplace, and employees in Europe are seeing a return on a staggered scheduled, too.

Jim Farley, chief operating officer at Ford, said safety measures implemented in China have served as a prototype for the company around the globe.

In addition, Ford officials are tracking positive COVID-19 cases and death rates not just around the globe but in counties and specific areas that house Ford factories and other buildings.

“Our decision-making will continue to be guided by this data,” Farley said.

By Phoebe Wall Howard

Detroit Free Press

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