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Ford shutters Kansas City plant for the week amid winter weather

Ford is canceling operations at its Kansas City Assembly Plant for the week as winter storms bolster the need for natural gas in the area.

“Due to unseasonably cold temperatures in the midsection of the United States, Ford was warned that the availability of natural gas could be restricted in the Kansas City area in the coming days,” Kelli Felker, Ford’s manufacturing and labor communications manager, said. “To ensure we minimize our use of natural gas that is critical to heat people’s homes, we have decided to cancel operations for the next week.”

The plant, located in Claycomo, employs about 7,250 workers, 6,900 of whom are hourly employees. Felker said employees with a full year of service behind them are set to receive 75 percent of their gross pay during this period before returning to work next Monday. 

The plant produces the company’s 2021 F-150 pickup trucks and transit vans. It was selected as the manufacturing home of the electric versions of both vehicles last year, a project slated to add 150 new jobs and invest $100 million into the plant. 

This is the latest in a series of delays for the popular truck line: A microchip shortage had already stunted production of the F-150 earlier this month, leading to a decrease in shifts at the Kansas City plant for a week.

Kansas City is facing temperatures far below freezing and around 2 to 4 inches of snowfall Monday. The National Weather Service placed the city under a wind chill warning and winter weather advisory over the weekend due to “historic and dangerously cold temperatures and wind chills.” 

Winter weather is impacting the state as a whole; Missouri’s utility companies and the Public Service Commission (PSC) are advising consumers to cut back on their energy consumption to prevent higher bills and blackouts, while hazardous roadways in the state’s capital have paused this year’s legislative session for the time being.