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    Ford CEO Jim Farley blames production on absenteeism, UAW puzzled

    Ford Motor Co. CEO Jim Farley this week blamed the UAW for the automaker’s current production problems, an accusation the union questioned.

    Farley, in an interview with CNN Business on Wednesday, said absentee rates exceed 20% in some factories.

    “Face masks are required again in major U.S. auto factories and, according to Ford CEO Jim Farley, that has some workers deciding not to show up for work. In some factories, absentee rates can exceed 20%, he said in an interview with CNN Business,” the network reported on Wednesday. 

    “When a fifth of your workforce isn’t coming in, in a manufacturing operation where everyone has their job and you don’t know who’s going to be missing every day, man, it’s really challenging,” Farley said, according to CNN.

    Brian Rothenberg, spokesman for the union that represents some 56,000 hourly Ford workers, pushed back on Friday at the idea that factory worker absenteeism is greater at Ford than its competitors or that hourly workers are somehow to blame for Ford’s manufacturing challenges.

    General Motors, Ford and Stellantis — the Detroit Three automakers that collaborate with its UAW union leaders on pandemic safety protocols — all require masks in the factories. And the other automakers aren’t calling out union workers or blaming safety protocols or a mask requirement for manufacturing disruption.

    “That mandate has contributed to the absentee problem, Farley said,” CNN reported this week.

    Farley didn’t say why Ford would see a spike in absenteeism but not its competitors.

    And the UAW couldn’t explain it, either.

    “While we are unsure of the context in how the company addressed the attendance issue, we question the accuracy of the data being shared,” Rothenberg told the Free Press in response to questions about Ford UAW workers.

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