Auto plants open despite UAW request

Andrew Cummings
March 18, 2020

According to the Associated Press, Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors each separately agreed to terms with the United Auto Workers to in some way cut shifts on a rotating basis.

The decision reverses a deal worked out late Tuesday in which the automakers would cancel some shifts so they could thoroughly cleanse equipment and buildings.

That will allow for deeper cleaning periods at the factories between shifts.

Gamble had told the automakers on Sunday that they should shut USA factories for two weeks, and made that position public early Tuesday.

Gamble says the union gave Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler two days to put together plans to safeguard workers.

The big three companies will be working with the UAW Vice President to make sure CDC required social distancing is met. That deadline is up today, and the UAW warns that it "will take this conversation to the next level" if its leadership is "not satisfied that our members will be protected".

The AP estimates roughly 150,000 auto workers are employed at dozens of factories and parts depots across the country.

American EV manufacturer Tesla, meanwhile, was ordered to halt operations after the Alameda County, Calif. sheriff's department determined that it does not qualify as an essential business allowed to continue operating under a shutdown order, despite Tesla's insistence to the contrary.

The dispute came as union members complained that continued work at the plants would expose them to the virus. "Were still - this is kind of a trial and error thing as everybody's you know trying to get a grasp on it", said Witt.

GM believes it can run the plants safely with preventive measures it has put in place since January and enhancements it is working on, spokesman Jim Cain said.

"The health and safety of our workforce is our top priority". Ford said it's working closely with the union and will announce details later. "We are continuing to carefully monitor the situation and are making improvements as needed", spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in a statement.

· Stay home if you are sick and advise others to do the same. They've given us some cleaners to use - is it enough? Production continued at both factories.

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