© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: A banner for Caterpillar Inc. hangs on the facade of at the NYSE in New York
By Rajesh Kumar Singh
CHICAGO (Reuters) – While Detroit automakers’ unionized auto factories have been idled by the coronavirus pandemic, farm and construction equipment makers Deere (N:) and Caterpillar (N:) have won the support of the United Auto Workers and other unions to run their facilities during the pandemic.
As U.S. states begin to lift lockdown orders and companies gear up to restart production, the policies put in place by the two heavy equipment makers offer a template for returning workers to idled factories in other sectors.
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 to stay on production lines when many union and non-union workers balk at…