The Ford Motor Company assembly plant in Claycomo near Kansas City is scheduled to be back at full capacity Friday morning.
3,600 of the factory’s approximately 7,400 union employees have been idled by a production shut down of F-150 pickup trucks since a fire damaged a supplier operation more than a week ago.
The blaze occurred at the Magnesium Products of America plant in Eaton Rapids, Michigan which supplies a part called the CMA Module, a front-end component where the radiator is installed.
Ford shut down the portion of operations at its two plants that assemble the F-150 in Claycomo and Dearborn, Michigan more than a week ago.
United Auto Workers Local 249 President Jason Starr told Missourinet that the Michigan supply part factory is also scheduled to come back online Friday. Earlier reports had said it would take up to three weeks to restore the plant to normal operations.
Starr also said the idled Claycomo employees have been receiving 95% of their net take-home pay minus $30 since the plant has been temporarily mothballed. 3,800 workers who assemble the Ford Transit van were not impacted by the fire at the Michigan part supplier.
Democratic U.S. Congressman Emanuel Cleaver of Kansas City sent a letter to Ford Motor Company President and Chief Executive Officer James Hackett Friday expressing concern over the partial shutdown’s impact on the local economy.
Cleaver told Missourinet Monday that any extended work shutdown would have a negative effect on businesses that supply goods and services to the plant.
“When you’re thinking about the companies from whom they buy toilet paper or paper plates or napkins or soft drinks, all of the other companies who provide those supplies would be negatively impacted if they leave,” said Cleaver.
Trade publication Industry Week reported Kansas City to be the country’s second-largest auto hub in November 2015. General Motors operates its Fairfax assembly plant which employs 2,000 people in Kansas City, Kansas.
The Ford F-150 truck which is assembled at the Claycomo plant has been the best-selling vehicle in the United States for well over 30 years. Cleaver said the pickup truck’s popularity creates an advantage for the Kansas City area factory.
“We don’t want them manufactured or assembled any other place,” Cleaver said. “We want it done right here in Kansas City. It creates some uniqueness for us.”
The idled workers are scheduled to begin shifts at the Claycomo plant Friday morning at 6 a.m.
Cleaver added that the Kansas City economy is diverse enough that no one business operation can close down and have an adverse effect on the area.
He mentioned Honeywell as an example of another major local employer. The multinational conglomerate has more than 3,000 workers at it’s south Kansas City plant and hired about 800 people last year.