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Ford To Monitor, Time Employees' Potty Breaks


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Ford To Monitor, Time Employees' Potty Breaks

Created: 10/31/2005 8:36:40 AM

Updated: 10/31/2005 8:37:17 AM

Detroit, MI -- Supervisors will start collecting weekly data to monitor rest room breaks, according to the memo, distributed to workers at the plant this week.

The factory's 3,500 hourly workers are allowed 48 minutes per shift for such breaks.

Ford says workers taking longer breaks are slowing down production of the Ford Expedition and Lincoln Navigator sport utility vehicles built at the plant.

"In today's competitive environment, it is important that Michigan Truck plant immediately address this concern to avoid the risks associated with safety, quality, delivery, cost and morale," the memo says.

Sales of Ford's three largest SUVs, including the Expedition, fell by more than 24% in the first three months of 2005.

Some managers get "petty" during tough times, said Jody Caruana, a committee member for the United Auto Workers Local 900 that represents plant workers.

"It's an excuse by upper management to gloss over some of the real problems we have out here," Caruana said. "Is this causing a quality or productivity problem? No. If someone is not on the job, you can bet someone else is who knows what they are doing."

But Ford spokeswoman Anne Marie Gattari said Ford's contract with the UAW spells out the 48-minute limit for bathroom breaks.

"We are managing our business according to the local agreement," she said.

Last week, Ford reported a third-quarter loss of $284 million. Among its North American automotive operations, the automaker reported a $1.2 billion pretax loss, compared to a $481 million loss a year ago.

At the time, Ford Chairman and CEO Bill Ford said he planned to announce US plant closings and layoffs in January.

Ford and other US automakers have been hurt by competition from Asia as well as high health care and materials costs and bloated plant capacity.

Associated Press


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