Ford Motor Co. plans to build respirators at Flat Rock Assembly Plant, according to the local United Auto Workers union representing employees there.
The automaker did not immediately confirm the plans. Three 10-hour shifts of paid volunteers are being recruited to start working as soon as next week, according to the transcript of a Tuesday evening robocall from the human resources department at the Mustang plant that was posted on Facebook by Local 3000.
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"This is a call to action for a cause that transcends everyday comforts," the robocall said, according to the transcript. "It is an opportunity to make a bad situation better, and help our medical professionals, first responders, and all affected by COVID-19."
The facility is indefinitely closed with the rest of Ford's manufacturing plants because of the COVID-19 outbreak. The respirator assembly would be performed at the Roush Building off Vreeland Road, according to the robocall. Additional measures would be put in place to protect volunteers.
Ford said last week it was partnering with the 3M Co. to boost production of its powered air-purifying respirators tenfold. The Dearborn automaker was helping to design a simpler version that uses the fan in cooled seats of F-150 pickup trucks. Ford said it was looking to build them in a Michigan facility.
Respirators filter the air for health-care workers and last longer than N95 face masks, the companies said when they announced the partnership. The United States is facing shortages of such personal protective equipment amid the COVID-19 outbreak.