Heroes on the Front Lines: Denise Butsch

When Ford Motor Company’s Louisville Assembly Plant in Kentucky, stopped production in March to prevent the spread of COVID-19, UAW Local 862 member and registered nurse Denise Butsch remained on duty.

As one of the local’s six nurses, she answered calls and talked with members who had questions about the virus and resources, or anxiety surrounding the pandemic.

“It was busy, even if there were only a few people in the plant,” Butsch says. “People were calling and asking questions about symptoms and whether they should reach out to their doctor.”

On May 18, when the plant re-opened and first-shift workers, representing about half of the 3,700 members at the plant returned, Butsch became a direct resource for members concerned about
COVID-19.

“The phones are constantly ringing,” she says. “We let members know that the plant and been cleaned and sanitized and that social distancing is in place, but a lot of people are still concerned,” she says. “Our members are now dealing with the emotional aspects of how this affects the world around them.”

And, while she works with members, Butsch has her own concerns.

“I have an 86-year-old father that I look in on,” Butsch says. “He is very independent, but I go to see him to check on him and I don’t want to take anything to him.”

Even with all the concerns and negatives of COVID-19, “We are all learning to take care of one another and stay safe,” she adds.