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The Henry Ford in Dearborn to lay off 80% of workers, cut pay

Mark Hicks
The Detroit News

The Henry Ford museum and village, facing a $10 million deficit, is temporarily laying off 80% of its staff and trimming pay for remaining workers as it closes during the pandemic, it said Thursday.

The unpaid leave for 1,400 staffers starts Monday and is expected to last through May 31, when the 90-year-old institution was scheduled to reopen, according to a statement.

"All full-time employees placed on temporary leave will continue to receive health benefits throughout this period and The Henry Ford will fully fund all contributions towards that cost," the release said. "Employees on temporary leave without pay are eligible to apply for unemployment assistance. The Henry Ford created a Talent & Culture Help Center to assist all staff during this time."

Greenfield Village mechanic Glenn Miller, takes Henry Ford III for a short drive in Henry Ford’s 1901 Sweepstakes race car at Greenfield Village.

Meanwhile, remaining workers are slated to have their pay decreased on a scale from 10-25%, based on their current salary, starting Monday, Henry Ford representatives said. Some staff designated to continue essential work, such as security and animal care workers, won't have their pay cut.

The moves aim "to help alleviate the long-term impact of the current economic downturn," the museum said.

“This unprecedented crisis is affecting each of us individually and The Henry Ford collectively,” said Patricia Mooradian, president and CEO. “While this time is painful for all of us, it is vital that our organization make these difficult decisions now to best position The Henry Ford for the future health and well-being of our team, our institution, our guests, our stakeholders and our community.”

The Henry Ford sees more than 1.7 million visitors each year and welcomed more than 1.8 million in 2019, the highest attendance since 2012, when the museum hosted the widely popular Titanic exhibit, officials said Wednesday.

The Kennedy car on display at the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, Mich. Monday, June 10, 2013. Gary Malerba for The Henry Ford

The site includes the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour and the Benson Ford Research Center.

Officials closed the campus on March 13 to comply with state, federal and Centers for Disease Control guidelines during the COVID-19 crisis.     

Through Thursday, Michigan reported 10,791 cases and 417 deaths.

It ranked fourth among all U.S. states, behind New York, New Jersey and California, for confirmed COVID-19 cases, according to tracking from the Johns Hopkins University & Medicine Coronavirus Resource Center.

Statewide orders have closed non-essential businesses and schools.

The crisis has pushed some hospitals to cut pay and benefits for employees to stay afloat.