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USA: Deere and Caterpillar kept facilities running during the pandemic thanks to improved safety policy negotiated with unions

Author: Reuters with mining.com, Published on: 8 May 2020

"How Deere, Caterpillar kept plants running during the coronavirus outbreak", 7 May 2020.

...farm and construction equipment makers Deere and Caterpillar have won the support of the United Auto Workers and other unions to run their facilities during the pandemic...Giving employees sick time without penalty, temperature screenings, staggered shifts and hiring a hygiene-auditing firm are some of the measures the two companies have taken to reassure employees returning to production lines...

UAW supported Deere’s decision to resume production at two of its facilities within days of employees testing positive...Union officials attribute that decision to a safety policy they negotiated with the company that mandates a strict implementation of guidelines prescribed by the nation’s health protection agency and the World Health Organization. “One of our priorities...is to make sure that our members can self-report without any kind of penalty,” said Brian Rothenberg, the UAW’s public relations director...Deere is providing paid sick leave to cover the recommended 14 days of self-quarantine, even to workers who think they have been exposed to the virus but are not certain and have not been tested. “The last thing we wanted was for individuals to feel compelled to come to work to get paid,” a Deere official said...the farm equipment maker enhanced pay provisions to cover the challenges workers face due to day care and school closings. It also waived copays, coinsurance and deductibles for its employees for coronavirus testing.

At Caterpillar, the UAW and the United Steelworkers have negotiated a similar paid sick leave policy for their members...Production employees are allowed time off up to 10 weeks at 2/3 of their salary for child care...To ensure social distancing, lunch hours have been extended and visitor access to facilities has been limited...

Read the full post here

Related companies: Caterpillar John Deere (Deere & Co)