Production challenges expected to continue
By Jim Fisher
The production schedules at KCAP continue to be changing weekly, and often with late notice. The supply chains that provide stock to the plant seem to be very unpredictable. To make the issue even more complicated, the amount of cargo containers backlogged at ports entering the United States has not improved over recent weeks. Both of our systems have seen reduced schedules in the month of October due to this. The Transit System has been affected with cancelled shifts, and the Truck side has seen shifts running short. Until the parts issues are fully resolved we will keep members aware of any production changes the moment we are officially notified. I expect to continue to see schedule adjustments for the remaining part of the year.
On October 6, Ford CEO Jim Farley visited the Kansas City Assembly Plant. This was his second visit to the plant since taking over as Ford’s CEO. His visit included a presentation of the Transit Battery Electric Addition.
This visit went very well, and all of our members should be proud of the way our Local 249 members that were part of the presentation represented the plant and our membership. Their knowledge and understanding of the new lines show that KCAP is ready for the next significant launch coming at the plant. Ford put a large investment into the plant getting ready for the BEV and our members showed that KCAP is ready to make this a very successful launch.
On October 15, Local 249 and KCAP made the official announcement that 290 additional TFT members were converting to Full Time In-Progression status ahead of the UAW/Ford contractually outlined timetable. This move immediately gave these members pay raises, better health care, and additional job security. Once all these members were converted, the TFT percentage at KCAP was reduced to 6% inside the plant. This percentage is well below the percentages allowed per the National Agreement.
On October 27, the final construction was finalized on the new drainage system to the North Parking lot. This a 100-foot-long drain that was placed just feet from the existing drain, and in front of the turnstiles. In addition, some additional dirt as removed from the ditch that separates the parking lot and 69 highway. There have been several attempts over the past couple of years to address the flooding that takes place there, and we are hopeful this will finally address the issues once and for all.
During the month of October our UAW Quality Reps, UAW Work Standards Reps, FPS Plant Coordinators, Bargaining Committee, and District Committeemen were assigned with addressing any quality issues inside the plant. Members were also notified of quality issues inside the plant. Thanks to a lot of hard work the plant has reported that in just 30 days on Truck Customer Acceptance Line (CAL) quality improved by 20.5%. In addition, KCAP reported out better quality than Dearborn Truck Plant by 13%.
This shows a significant improvement in our quality. While these numbers show an improvement, we are not satisfied enough is being done. To put it very simply we must do better, but for the first month the numbers indicate our members have begun to take quality to a higher priority. In additional to getting issues addressed on the production floor the Truck Final rebalance was ended early and job settlements in both Truck Trim and Truck Chassis have been settled. This was completed ahead of schedule to address jobs that have been overloaded. Additional manpower was added to both departments to completed job rebalance concerns.
The quality of our units is also our future. Each member has the responsibility to protect our customers. The Local Agreement protects our members with contractual Quality Stop Button Procedure found on pages 156-158. We ask all members to read, understand, and follow your Local Agreement.
The Local Leadership Team takes the quality of our units a very high priority. The success of this plant depends on the best units coming off our assembly lines. Quality is defined as a “Joint Venture” with the UAW and company. However, if our quality policies are properly administered, it will be done without reprisal to any operator.
To our KCAP management counter parts I will ask one simple question, when was the last time a member of management stopped the line to fix a quality issue? Any attempt from management to harass or intimidate an operator for properly using the contractual Stop Button Procedure will be reported to management outside of this plant to prevent KCAP Management from having the opportunity to cover up the issue. If members see quality issues not being addressed or recurring, we ask them to report those issues to our Quality Hotline numbers. The local number is 816-414-5588, and the National Hotline number is 866-723-3937.
Looking into November and December the Contractual Holidays are coming closer. Our members have seen a crazy year in 2021 to say the least. Holiday parties and family gatherings will soon be starting. We wish to remind everyone that COVID 19 has not gone away, and to plan to continue protecting your family and loved ones with social distancing practices. As we approach Thanksgiving, I ask all our members to look back and reflect on all that has gone on this past year. While 2021 has been challenging, as members of the UAW we still have a lot to be thankful for.