Ford postpones office reopen in midst of factory floor tension
Ford Motor Co. is putting off plans to have salaried employees return to offices as some union leaders question whether the company is doing enough to protect hourly workers who are back on the factory floor.
Staff who have been working from home won’t return to offices until at least the beginning of September, said T.R. Reid, a Ford spokesman. The company said it’s putting off earlier plans to call employees back starting this month due to shortages of personal protective equipment and the need to establish new safety protocols at buildings including its headquarters in Dearborn, Michigan.
“We’re obviously prioritizing places where jobs can’t be done remotely, like manufacturing," Reid said. “And we’re still working on the plan for when people are coming back and what they come back to in terms of how it’s set up."
Ford has had workers at several US factories test positive for Covid-19 since the facilities reopened May 18. While the company has stopped production on multiple occasions to clean work spaces and required surrounding staff to quarantine, union locals at Ford F-150 factories in Missouri and Michigan have accused the automaker of not doing enough.
Reid said worker “safety and well-being" is being prioritized in its plants.
Ford said in April it would begin bringing back its 30,000 U.S. salaried workers in late June and early July. Since then, about 12,000 salaried employees who can’t work remotely have returned, the spokesman said. Worldwide, more than 100,000 Ford workers are back on the job as the automaker also has resumed operations in China and Europe.