Photo by Chris Burritt/NWO | Expansion of Honda Aircraft’s operations at Piedmont Triad International Airport is continuing even as the company eliminated the jobs of 204 contract workers, or about 14 percent of its work force. The company’s new facility will increase the assembly of jet wings and provide parts storage.
by CHRIS BURRITT
NW GREENSBORO - Honda Aircraft Co. said it has eliminated the jobs of 204 contract workers due to a coronavirus-related drop of demand for jets it builds at Piedmont Triad International (PTI) Airport.
The cutback eliminated about 14 percent of the company's approximately 1,500 jobs at PTI. The dismissals followed other cost-reduction steps including salary reductions by full-time management and other employees and a temporary suspension of production, company spokeswoman Kie Nagasawa said in an email earlier this week.
Workers learned of their dismissals last week as company officials were dealing with the positive COVID-ID diagnosis of a second-shift worker employed by a Honda Aircraft vendor.
The company, based at PTI, determined the worker had not been on the company's premises for a week before testing positive for the virus, Nagasawa said. She added the worker wasn't displaying symptoms when last on the company's premises.
Honda Aircraft informed employees about the positive virus diagnosis April 30, even though no employees came in contact with the worker, Nagasawa said.
Some terminated contract workers learned about the positive diagnosis from former Honda Aircraft colleagues and the contract-personnel companies for which they worked. The lack of notification upset some of the workers because they didn't know whether they had possibly been in contact with the sick worker.
In her emails, Nagasawa didn't respond directly to a request for an explanation of whether the company notified terminated workers about the diagnosis.
The spokeswoman said Honda Aircraft had implemented additional cleaning and sanitizing of its facilities several weeks before the worker tested positive. The precautions remain in place, and they include fever screening for visitors and employees.
All employees receive new disposable masks daily and are required to wear them, according to Nagasawa. The company has also restricted all non-essential travel, installed cubicle partitions as part of social distancing measures, and is allowing some employees to work remotely and take time off.