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Ford cancels summer shutdown weeks at majority of assembly plants

Phoebe Wall Howard, Detroit Free Press on

Published in Automotive News

John Savona, vice president of manufacturing and labor affairs at Ford Motor Co., issued a letter to factory workers on Thursday alerting them that summer break is canceled.

"This notification is a week later than normal because of the volatility tied to the industry-wide semiconductor shortage. We appreciate your patience and the UAW's cooperation and understanding," said the letter, obtained by the Free Press from a factory worker and confirmed by Ford.

Ford will not take a traditional summer shutdown at the majority of its assembly plants in the U.S., specifically Dearborn Truck Plant, Michigan Assembly Plant in Wayne, Flat Rock Assembly Plant, Kentucky Truck Plant in Louisville, Ohio Assembly Plant in Avon Lake, Chicago Assembly Plant and Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo, Missouri.

Teams will be working during the traditional shutdown weeks this summer, Savona said.

"In those locations, employees will need to schedule vacation days via their local vacation scheduling process. Individual plants in Powertrain and Stamping will provide specifics around their operating patterns to support the assembly plants," the letter said.

This global shortage of semiconductors is affecting all auto manufacturers as well as other industries, Savona noted. The Material, Planning and Logistics, purchasing and manufacturing teams at Ford "have been working tirelessly to find solutions to keep our plants running so you can continue building high-quality vehicles that continue to be in high demand among our dealers and customers. One of those solutions is sequencing down weeks, allowing us to keep building our must-have vehicles for customers when we have adequate parts supplies."

 

More shutdowns, too

In addition to the summer schedule change, and adding to the weeks of closures and worker pay lost, Savona said Thursday that during the week of April 12, Chicago Assembly Plant, Flat Rock Assembly Plant and Kansas City Assembly Plant on the Transit side, not F-150, will be down due to parts shortfalls tied to the semiconductor shortage.

"We previously announced the Dearborn Truck Plant and Louisville Assembly Plant will also be down the week of April 12. Ohio Assembly Plant will be operating on a reduced schedule," Savona said. "We understand these schedule disruptions are inconvenient. We also appreciate that this year's summer schedule may be disappointing to those who look forward to time away during the traditional shutdown weeks."

The Dearborn automaker is planning to operate more U.S. assembly plants during more weeks this summer than it has in more than 15 years — specifically in late June and early July, Kelli Felker, Ford global manufacturing and labor communications manager, told the Free Press.

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