UAW Local 249 Bulletin
COVID-19 at KCAP
This is not the first time Local 249 has expressed concerns with the COVID-19 Protocols at KCAP. In early June, Ford released the statement below concerning KCAP.
“Working closely with the UAW and external experts in infectious disease and epidemiology, we have developed safety standards to protect our workforce. We will follow those protocols at all facilities globally, including Kansas City Assembly Plant. Our Safety protocol continues to evolve as we learn more about COVID-19”
Despite making this public commitment the company has only made minimal attempts to address the significant number of documented safety concerns. The company has continued its failure to meet the safety standards outlined in its own Manufacturing Return to Work Playbook. The Local leadership has written numerous safety grievances that have not been resolved that have now been advanced to the international level for resolution. We have made it clear to the company that these concerns must be immediately addressed and that we will take all actions required to ensure the safety of our members. It is very important for all members to understand the serious nature of the current situation at KCAP and continue to report concerns directly to the Union. To accommodate this communication, we have set up additional resources for members to notify the Union of concerns. Members can email any concerns about plant COVID-19 screening, facility cleaning or general concerns about KCAP COVID-19 Protocol to COVIDINFO@LOCAL249.ORG or complete an online form at the following link bit.ly/KCAPCovid19Concerns.
As stated above Local 249 has written numerous Health and Safety Grievances over the past few weeks. Specifically, one pertaining to the impact of heat stress and difficulties breathing that members are experiencing being required to wear masks for over 10 hours a day. Our plant is unique in that the plant has no air conditioning and gets very hot. In the last several weeks the heat indexes have reached dangerous levels and we have seen a substantial increase in the number of heat/breathing-related medical emergencies at KCAP. All of you already know that once the plant heats up it takes hours, if not days for the plant to cool back off. While Ford will make the final decision on when we do not have to wear masks, the Union has requested some very simple items such as better cooling wraps, additional water/sports drinks, and additional heat breaks to provide relief to our members when the heat reaches dangerous levels. We cannot risk our safety, especially with the heat. If you experience or witness any member struggling with the heat or show signs of heat stress/stroke please immediately seek medical attention in plant medical.
Return to Work Playbook
As concerns about the Manufacturing Return to Work Playbook Protocols have been identified the company has worked to modify the playbook instead of addressing the underlying safety concern. We have again been informed that beginning June 18th it is the company’s intention to remove the Deep Cleaning (Fogging) protocol if a positive case is found and changing it to a “Targeted Cleaning”.
Thanks to our members reporting KCAP COVID-19 Protocol concerns directly to the Union. We have been successful in establishing a local process for the Temperature Scanning Process. Before, management would scan members in some cases 5 times and have them stand under a cooling system until their temperature lowered. This completely subverts the effectiveness of the process and we moved to immediately establish a new process at KCAP. The new process states that if a member fails the scan, they will wait 2 minutes in the cooling tent. If they fail a second time, they will have to contact medical and follow the process outlined in the COVID-19 Screening Protocol. Another improvement that has been upgraded is the cleaning solution. After studying the solution, it was discovered to not be strong enough. The new process has cleanup using a stronger solution.
Since returning from layoff the company has prioritized production over quality and in an effort to keep lines running the company has been placing Team Leaders on jobs. This has resulted in a considerable increase in repairs making it out of our areas and departments. It is critically important for our future that we protect the quality of our products being delivered to our customers. The local leadership asks everyone to report all quality issues by using the Quality Stop Button Procedure to ensure that concerns addressed immediately. This procedure is outlined in our Local agreement and set in place to ensure we are getting the best possible product off the line.
The company has now taken the stance during the summer months that they will start restricting the day off calendars or denying anyone in the department time off. It’s unacceptable that we have members scheduled in some cases 65 hours a week, and in some cases, members are even volunteering for additional work and the company refusing to grant people days off. We have received a large number of complaints of members being harassed and threatened with retaliation to work additional days to cover manpower shortages. Members are not required to work days beyond their regular schedule and the Local leadership advises all members to report such actions immediately as this will not be tolerated. We will continue to ensure our members are getting time off they are contractually guaranteed.
CARES ACT modifications.
We have received information that the company will be sending a robocall to all members who are currently on CARES ACT leave due to the inability to secure childcare. The company has stated that it will request verification letters from childcare providers to justify continued leave under the CARES ACT. As we obtain more details, we will make them available to the membership.
KCAP has tentatively scheduled mandatory overtime production for the Truck Side on B Crew for Saturday, June 20th, and A Crew for Sunday, June 28th. Transit is scheduled mandatory overtime for Day Shift on Saturday, June 20th, and night shift for Saturday, June 27th.
C-Crew Pay Issues
We have identified over 200 C-Crew members with pay errors due to the company failing to properly code C-Crew members. The Bargaining Committee is working through each pay issue and working to have the pay issues corrected as quickly as possible. If you have any concerns or question please email them to firstname.lastname@example.org.
C-Crew 4th of July Weekend
The company has agreed to the Union request that C Crew will work July 3rd, no production will be scheduled for the day of 4th of July in honor of the holiday. C Crew Production will resume on Sunday night July 5th
Jim Fisher, Bargaining Chair Jason Starr, President
Bargaining Committee Steve Chorbak Dean Freed Don Picard Ron Pangborn