Dana Inc, a major supplier of truck parts to Detroit automakers, resume its Toledo plant Monday on a single shift, with one-third of its 750-person workforce and less than 1% absenteeism, the plant manager Craig Zimmerly noted.
“We don’t have that vibe of ‘too soon.’ There may be a little bit of ‘okay, the mask is bothering me,’” stated Zimmerly, adding that the general absentee rate is 2-3%.
The Detroit Three automakers and their providers started to resume assembly lines on Monday following a two-month coronavirus lockdown in a slow revival of a sector that employs almost 1 million people in the United States.
The Toledo plant supplies axles for such popular models including Fiat Chrysler Automobiles’ Jeep Wrangler and Gladiator, and Ford’s Ranger pickup. Trucks and SUVs are among the American auto industry’s most profitable vehicles.
Hourly workers at the plant are represented by United Auto Workers (UAW) union Local 12, which also represents employees at the nearby FCA Jeep plant.
One of those precautions are staggered entrances and exits for employees, who get thermal temperature checks and are provided face masks – although some have opted to use their own facial coverings, including at least one with an American flag motif. Across the plant, yellow Xs remind people where to stand for appropriate social distancing.
Workers are accountable for cleaning their immediate work areas at the beginning and end of every shift. Overnight, a maintenance crew cleans and disinfects the factory with fogging machines.
“We’ve got a good mood today. Everybody understands that we have to go back to work. It was better than we all thought. You don’t hear too many negatives,” said 61-year-old Mark Popovich of Toledo, the plant’s UAW shop chairman.