By Michael Michalski – July 5, 2020
When regular production was paused at Ford’s North American manufacturing facilities on March 18, employees at Ford of Canada's Windsor Site didn’t want to sit still. With world-class facilities available and employees that have been building award-winning engines for decades, there was an opportunity to help combat COVID-19.
Ford of Canada worked closely with the Ontario and federal governments, and on March 26 members of the Windsor Site team began producing vital face shields for first responders and frontline healthcare workers across Canada. By June 15, employees had assembled their one-millionth face shield, an important milestone on the march to manufacturing 2.75-million.
"Ford of Canada has a long history of supporting communities across the country in times of need," said Dean Stoneley, president and CEO, Ford of Canada. "I am incredibly proud of how the Windsor Site team mobilized in the midst of a crisis, shifting gears from manufacturing outstanding engines to producing high quality face shields for those on the front lines who need them most."
On June 18, members of the Windsor Site team were joined by Ford and UNIFOR officials to celebrate producing more than one million face shields. After a short presentation, a commemorative photo – adhering to safe physical distancing measures recommended by public health agencies – was taken outside of Ford of Canada's Essex Engine Plant.
Adrian Price, director of Global Core Engineering for Vehicle Manufacturing at Ford Motor Company, offered congratulations to the Windsor Site team for producing more than one million face shields in such a short time. He added that each face shield produced in Windsor helps keep the true heroes – first responders and medical personnel – safer in the fight against COVID 19.
"Windsor Site employees reacted to this pandemic by asking how they could help," said Peter Wilson, global integration manager, Ford Powertrain Manufacturing Engineering. "The cooperation and collaboration across various teams has been incredible, as everyone involved wanted to do the right thing for their fellow Canadians."
UNIFOR Local 200 was represented at the event by vice president Tim Little, who shared that the union was very happy to support the Windsor community, and the country, by producing face shields for those who are potentially exposed to COVID-19 every single day. He also said that UNIFOR was honoured to have joined forces with Ford of Canada to once again lead the way when it was needed most.
To close the celebration, Tony Savoni, manager, Windsor Site, expressed that he was humbled, but not surprised, by how his special team rallied around each other and found a way to make this all happen quickly.
Ford of Canada's Windsor Site is no stranger to helping out during unprecedented times. When World War II began in 1939, Ford of Canada converted nearly its entire capacity to produce more than 336,000 military vehicles for Britain and its allies.
An update from Unifor Local 584