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2 Ford plants in North America missing from list for reopening week of May 18. Here’s why

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press
Published 6:00 a.m. ET May 11, 2020 | Updated 6:51 a.m. ET May 11, 2020

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Ford Motor confirmed Sunday it is finalizing plans to get factory production in the U.S., Canada and Mexico up and running by the end of May.

And while pickup trucks are the most lucrative vehicles for the Dearborn automaker, Ford is committed to a full push that will have all operations underway in its most profitable part of the world by June.

In North America, Ford is calling back approximately 71,000 hourly and salaried workers during the week of May 18, with an estimated 59,300 workers returning to work in the U.S., and 5,300 in Canada and 6,775 in Mexico, said Kelli Felker, Ford global manufacturing and communications manager.

Openings during the week of May 18:

  • Chicago Assembly to build Ford Explorer, Police Interceptor SUV, Lincoln Aviator
  • Dearborn Truck to build Ford F-150 and F-150 Raptor
  • Kansas City Assembly in Claycomo, Missouri to build Ford F-150 and Transit
  • Kentucky Truck in Louisville to build Expedition, Lincoln Navigator, F-250 to F-550
  • Louisville Assembly in Kentucky to build Ford Escape, Lincoln Corsair
  • Michigan Assembly in Wayne to build Ford Ranger
  • Ohio Assembly in Avon Lake to build Ford F-650/750, F-350/450/550 Super Duty Chassis Cab E-Series cutaway and stripped chassis
  • Cuautitlan Stamping and Assembly in Cuautitlán Izcalli, Mexico, to build Ford Mustang Mach-E
  • Hermosillo Stamping and Assembly in Hermosillo Sonora, Mexico, to build Ford Fusion, Police Interceptor sedan, Lincoln MKZ
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Openings during the week of May 25:

  • Flat Rock Assembly to build Ford Mustang, Shelby GT350 & 350R, Lincoln Continental
  • Oakville Assembly in Oakville Ontario, Canada,  to build Ford Edge and Lincoln Nautilus

Having staggered start dates allow for a smoother transition back to business, Felker explained.

“We didn’t want to turn everything on at the same time,” she said. “We wanted to just do it more slowly.”

The company takes pride in building one F-150 pickup truck every 52 seconds. But while Ford views the F-150 as its moneymaking machine, Ford also saw significant sales of its Explorer SUV, Ford Mustang, Transit Van and Lincoln Aviator during the first three months of 2020. 

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In addition, the company will continue making personal protection equipment (PPE), Felker confirmed.

Ford workers are making face shields at Troy Design and Manufacturing in Plymouth, face masks at the Van Dyke Transmission Plant, purified air respirators at the Vreeland Facility near Flat Rock and ventilators at the Rawsonville Plant in Ypsilanti.

Ford plans to make a majority of its own personal protection equipment for workers, Felker said. 

“Ford has more hourly employees and assembles more vehicles in America than any other company — and the health and safety of our workforce is our priority,” she said. “Working closely with the UAW, we have developed health and safety protocols building on our experience in China, Europe and with our U.S. plants making medical PPE to help keep our workforce safe in our facilities.”

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Prior to the return of employees to the plants, Ford is  installing signage and barriers and putting in place logistics related to distributing safety equipment, Felker said.

“We’re making sure we have all of our parts in place,” she said. “There’s a lot going on to make sure these safety protocols are right, so people understand what to expect when they do come back.”

As of April, Ford employed 188,000 workers worldwide.

Rory Gamble, president of the UAW, wrote in his member update on Friday: “Although we all knew this day would come, I know there is a great deal of concern as we begin the necessary process of restarting our economy.”

Auto plants have been shut down since late March in response to pandemic concerns.

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The UAW confirmed Sunday that an updated total of 11 Ford hourly workers have  died since March 22 after being diagnosed with COVID-19:

  • A worker in skilled trades from the Ford Data Center in Dearborn
  • A worker from Dearborn Diversified Manufacturing Plant in Dearborn
  • A worker from Dearborn Stamping
  • A worker from Dearborn Truck
  • Two workers from Michigan Assembly in Wayne
  • Three workers from the Livonia Transmission Plant
  • Two workers from the Chicago Assembly Plant

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has had 15 UAW members and one non-union employee die. No UAW workers employed by General Motors have died of the virus, but a vendor’s employee who worked at GM Tech Center in Warren died. 

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Contact Phoebe Wall Howard at 313-222-6512or phoward@freepress.com. Follow her on Twitter @phoebesaid. Read more on Ford and sign up for our autos newsletter.

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