Like Her Sisters and Niece, Chakeena Gordon Becomes Full-Time Ford Employee

Oct 19, 2022

By Helen Niemiec

Until official word reached her in subassembly at Woodhaven Stamping Plant recently, Chakeena Gordon couldn’t believe she was being converted to a full-time Ford employee and gaining full benefits. Representatives from UAW Local 387 delivered the news to 12 employees at the plant: say goodbye to temporary full-time status and welcome to the world of full-time Ford employment. 

In early June, UAW and Ford leaders announced plans to add more than 6,200 new U.S. manufacturing jobs in the Midwest and convert nearly 3,000 temporary UAW-Ford workers to permanent full-time status and provide all hourly employees healthcare benefits on the first day of employment. Gordon is one of the nearly 3,000 team members to receive the good news. 

“You hear the rumors, but you don’t want to count on anything until you know,” she said.

A hard worker, Gordon worked two jobs for several years. She worked at a supermarket from 1994 to 2007, when the store closed, and she also worked the night desk at a hotel for 20 years, with that position coming to an end when COVID-19 shut everything down in March 2020. At that point, Gordon went from having two jobs to none.

Her two sisters and her niece, all Ford employees, encouraged her to apply to the company. “I did, because I was worried about what I was going to do,” she said. “There were no health benefits for my husband and my kids.”

Gordon said her sister, Lori Darby, put her own reputation on the line, as she had never referred anyone to work at Ford before. Once the referral was in, things moved quickly. Within 60 days, Gordon had a job. “I was a little discouraged when I came here because so many people were on temporary layoff, but I hung in there,” she said. “It all paid off.” 

Now, Gordon is grateful to have benefits for herself, her husband and her children, a 23-year-old son and a 15-year-old daughter.