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Editorial


Front Page - Friday, May 1, 2020

Volkswagen Chattanooga to resume production May 3




Volkswagen Chattanooga plans for employees to return to work May 3 following a six-week suspension of operations due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We’ve dedicated the past several weeks to implementing stringent health and safety measures,” says Tom du Plessis, president and CEO of the company. “After assessing the current situation, we’ve decided to resume production under clear safety measures and with the health of our employees as our highest priority.”

To allow ample time for implementation of new health and safety procedures, Volkswagen will resume its Chattanooga operations in phases, gradually increasing production volume over the course of several weeks. Each phase progressively lessens restrictions, with the final phase being a complete return to normal operations.

Volkswagen Chattanooga has put more than 90 new measures into place to limit contact and help ensure safe working spaces. These measures include:

• Ceasing shuttle transportation

• Implementing temperature checks upon entrance

• Establishing 6-foot distancing barricades and floor markings

• Providing new personal protective equipment, including masks and gloves

• Increasing disinfection frequency of all contact surfaces

• Replacing plated cafeteria meals with packed lunches

Volkswagen Chattanooga’s medical team will evaluate and coordinate appropriate measures for any employees who exhibit COVID-19 symptoms, or who are otherwise ill, at-risk or have underlying medical issues.

The company will continue to monitor public health and government guidance on COVID-19 and will adjust operational plans as necessary as the situation evolves.

The factory’s initial restart production schedule will be a five-day, eight-hour workweek for most shops. Shift and break times will be staggered.

The factory suspended production March 21 before stay-at-home mandates from state and local government. Volkswagen employees and production contractors received full pay and benefits during this time for a total of three additional weeks of compensation.

On April 11, production and maintenance employees were placed on temporary emergency furlough. Furloughed employees continued to receive health care benefits and coverage of premiums.

Source: Volkswagen Chattanooga