DETROIT — Ford Motor Co. has launched a massive health safety campaign in response to the coronavirus pandemic, an effort that includes a COVID-19 contract with Ford employees and their families.
“We understand the importance of caring for ourselves and others, and will commit to establish safe practices that will protect all of us against the spread of COVID-19,” says the first line of a one-page agreement.
There’s an eight -point list of items to which family members agree, ranging from washing hands for 20 seconds — or twice the singing of the ‘Happy Birthday’ song — and wearing a mask when away from home “even if friends pressure me not to wear a mask.”
There’s a four-point list of items for the parent or guardian in the home that includes engaging in “honest conversations” with family about the pandemic and its impact on the family and outside the home, leading by example and continuing “open dialogue.”
The document ends with the statement: “We have talked about and understand the terms and conditions of this contract and agree to honor them.”
It ends with lines for family member signatures and the date when signed.
Put on the fridge
“This isn’t mandatory. It’s completely voluntary,” Kiersten Robinson, Ford’s chief human resources officer, told the Free Press.
“We are encouraging the conversation — because that’s what’s most important. How you continue to educate yourself around what’s going on, how to stay healthy at home and, importantly, engage your family in those conversations. Each family will make a decision that’s right for them.”
She continued, “We want to reinforce, though, the measures that have worked really well at Ford to keep our employees safe and protected will also do the same thing at home. So it’s an opportunity for employees to share what those measures are with their kids and with their loved ones and talk about how they can use those at home. And decide what will make the most sense for them.”
The contract, referred to as a Family Pledge, is something for mommy or daddy to hang on the refrigerator, not submit to their employer. It will be available for employees to download online.
“We invested a lot of time and careful planning in the creation of our return-to-work playbook and our protocol,” Robinson said.
“What we’ve heard from our employees, as well as our UAW partners, is that the discipline and rigor that employees were experiencing in the workplace gave them a sense of comfort. And it’s clearly working. But is there more that we can do to help employees outside of the workplace? We really wanted to look at, how do we apply the lessons learned and those disciplines and engage employees and also their families in how to make sure we’re being safe both in the workplace and outside of the workplace.”
Ford says this letter is designed to be a helpful reminder of good habits and the importance of disciplined behavior as tens of thousands of its 85,000 U.S. workers continue to work from home.
Off-site exposure to the virus risks the safety of office and factory workers, too.
No one is required to submit a signed contract to the company, but engaging with the contract is strongly encouraged and posting the contract on social networks is valued.
“We’re encouraging employees to post, so we’ve got a well-being app that we use through social media,” Robinson said. “We’re encouraging them to kind of share their declaration, their commitment and use that in a viral way so that it reinforces the importance of these safety protocols.”
This effort is based on a similar campaign related to driver safety that Ford developed in collaboration with the UAW.
FILE - This Thursday, Nov. 29, 2012, file photo, shows the company's logo at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles. The U.S. government is investigating complaints that the brakes can fail on Fords F-150 pickup truck. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)