Production and mask protocols return at KCAP


On July 26 all shifts of production have returned to work from the most recent layoffs due to the parts shortages. On August 2, the Transit System will return to a 5X10 hour work schedule with Super Production scheduled for both No. 2 and No. 3 Shifts. The Truck System has returned all three shifts of production to work, with a couple of Super Production shifts scheduled between now and the end of September. Currently neither system shows any more down weeks through the month of September, but that is always subject to change.

On July 26, Ford Motor Company announced that they would adjust their protocols on COVID-19 and go back to requiring masks for all members inside the facility. Ford says that positive COVID cases in Missouri have increased. In a letter from National Joint Health and Safety Team, which is made up of both International Safety Union Reps and Ford Motor Company, they announced that they were addressing states where there had been a significate increase in COVID-19 cases. Ford will continue to monitor COVID-19 daily and stated they expect to have to adjust to protocols over the coming months.

On July 28, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced a mask mandate for indoors in public places starting Monday, August 2 and will go through at least August 28.

With this decision, KCAP Management needs to address all requirements of the Return-to-Work Playbook and quite frankly do a better job protecting its workforce. Ford has already said they won’t return the Temperature Scanning booths, because they caught less than 1% of positive COVID cases entering the plant. The reality is they were a failure from the beginning. Tents were constantly unmanned, had reduced lanes, had employees who failed the scan but waved into work anyway so they wouldn’t be late, and had entrances management could enter without going through the scanner.

Another very significant part of the Return-to-Work Playbook is cleaning. KCAP Management has completely dropped the ball on this as well. The intention of the Return-to-Work Playbook is very clear on this matter. All workstations, bathrooms, break room, and anything else with a high touch potential needs to be cleaned on a regular basis. Unfortunately, KCAP didn’t find this part important either. On most occasions hand sanitizer stations were either empty or broken. The restrooms are still filthy, and most are either missing soap, toilet paper, paper towels or the bathroom facilities themselves are broken. However, the company posts signs to remind us to repeatably wash our hands.

KCAP hires an outside company called Team Solutions to clean the plant. Since the beginning of the pandemic Ford has reduced the funding to Team Solutions for pandemic spending in a cost saving effort. This has caused Team Solutions to reduce their cleaning staff dedicated to COVID 19 cleaning by one third.

The Return-to-Work Playbook also calls for a daily “signoff” by the supervisor of the area. This includes walking the workstations, break rooms, and restrooms. To avoid providing Local 249 the documentation that these walks were taking place the company covered for them by saying that they emailed them to their bosses. The fact is that workstations we not being wiped down, break areas had no cleaning supplies – and most still don’t – and bathrooms are still in horrible conditions clearly proves these “signoffs” have never been completed.

During this pandemic, Local 249 performed several audits of the Return-to-Work Protocol and required the company to walk with us. It should have been the other way around with the company asking us on the walks and asking us for input. At the end of the day the company is responsible for keeping their employees safe. KCAP management must step up their game as this virus appears to be increasing in cases.

The pay practices at KCAP also remain an active issue. Members report to work and are not paid correctly by floor supervisors. KCAP’s Labor Relations and HR Departments have intentionally delayed SUB payments, and even admitted to not paying out SUB pay benefits during the last week in June to improve the company’s second quarter earnings. On July 28, Ford Motor Company reported a “surprise” net profit of $1.1 billion in the second quarter, one can really only wonder what the numbers would have been if they had not delayed member’s pay until July 1, which is the start of the third quarter.

During the past 18 months, all of us have seen changes. However, Ford has clearly made a change that’s not in the best interest of our UAW members across the country. In the 2019 National Agreement Ford committed a $960 Million investment into the Ohio Assembly Plant. Since then they have told the UAW they don’t intended to make that investment after all. At the same time they have moved the Electric Mustang, Bronco Sport, and Maverick Truck production all to Mexico.

Our In-Progression members have also been disadvantaged by a pay issue nicknamed “Leapfrog”. This has caused members with lower seniority to receive pay raises before higher seniority members. During the Ratification Meetings the company agreed to correct any “Leapfrog” issues. They did commit to address the immediate concerns while voting on the contract was taking place. Since then, the have said fixing the “Leapfrog” was too expensive. We suggest using the “surprise” second quarter earnings to correct the pay.

Local 249 has and will continue to take direct action with the support of the International Union. We have also advanced the issue to the National Labor Relations Board to seek immediate resolution

As long as Unions have been around there are things members like and don’t like. However, the attack from the company on the UAW has now been made very clear. We must immediately begin to act like union brothers and sisters and have each other’s backs. We need to start acting like we are 7,300 strong. Union Reps can’t win all the fights alone. Spend time learning your contractual rights and holding the company accountable.

It’s clear the company forgot that in the third quarter of 2020 and coming back up from the 2020 COVID-19 shutdown that KCAP broke every production record ever set by this plant. They have forgotten who saved them in their “darkest hour” from the financial crisis in 2007. They have chosen to ignore their “UAW Partners” in return for new friends on Wall Street.

Maybe it’s time to help them remember who got them where they are.