LOUISVILLE—Approximately 20,000 active and retired Ford factory workers, their immediate family members and surviving spouses will be able to get coronavirus tests at the UAW hall here after the union’s executive board voted unanimously to hire a private laboratory to perform the tests at no cost to members.
It is the first known full-service testing operation at a UAW site in response to the pandemic.
The Louisville-based Bluewater Diagnostic Laboratory reached out to the union, thinking factory workers might appreciate having access to the sometimes-uncomfortable virus tests in a familiar setting that’s easily accessible.
Assembly line workers, skilled trades, nurses and maintenance employees from Ford’s Kentucky Truck Plant and Louisville Assembly Plant will all have access to the tests. In addition, UAW cleaning workers from MPS and Harvard Maintenance, as well as parts sorters from USA Sorters will be able to get tested at the hall.
Meanwhile, Ford has been aggressive in its efforts to contain the virus, and the automaker recently ordered ultra-cold freezers in anticipation of receiving vaccines.
Ford’s Kentucky factories alone employ 13,500 hourly workers, and the union represents 5,000 Ford retirees as well as 1,000 surviving spouses. Ford currently refers workers to area test sites, but not their family members. If all goes well, the union will invite other UAW locals in nearby counties to participate. For now, the lab expects to do up to 500 tests a day.