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UAW: FCA Transport worker in Sterling Heights dies of COVID-19

Posted: 7:18 PM, Mar 26, 2020
Updated: 2020-03-26 19:18:22-04
New York reports first coronavirus-related death in state

(WXYZ) — The United Auto Workers says another FCA employee has died of the coronavirus.

UAW President Rory Gamble made the announcement in a message to the membership:

My Brothers and Sisters,

As this crisis continues, each day we get news of another brother or sister who has fallen to this terrible virus. Today, I am so sorry to report that one of our members at FCA Transport in Sterling Heights, Michigan, has died from the virus. I, along with Vice President Cindy Estrada and the entire International Executive Board extend our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to our dear brother’s family and friends.

This is truly a time for us all to come together and help one another. We are living in an unprecedented situation and working every day to do the right thing. Today, Ford Motor Company announced that they plan to reopen U.S. production in some plants
on April 14.

Here is what we had to say about that: “The UAW continues to review, with great caution and concern, decisions being made about restarting workplaces, especially at advanced dates. These decisions should be informed by data and where each state is on the contagion curve. The UAW maintains that strict CDC guidelines need to be adhered to at all worksites, and that prior to reopening, sufficient data and protections are in place to ensure the safety of our members, their families and the public. The
only guideline in a boardroom should be management asking themselves, ‘Would I send my family — my own son or daughter — into that plant and be 100% certain they are safe?’

As we all know, this situation is changing hour by hour, day by day. We will continue to work around the clock to ensure that everything in our power is being done to safeguard our members, and we will keep you updated.

Additionally, General Motors announced today that Arlington Assembly in Texas is soliciting volunteers from its workforce to finish the build out of its current model truck for its customers and to maintain critical business priorities. As employee safety is our priority, Arlington Assembly is putting in numerous safeguards including, but not limited to, thermal temperature scanning, individual questionnaires, additional personal protective equipment and cleaning crews and limiting work to one shift per day for social distance. This work is expected to last one week or less after which all volunteers would return to layoff status. This voluntary temporary restart of work to finish the build out of current models is only at Arlington Assembly, other GM locations are not affected.

On Capitol Hill, the legislation unanimously passed in the Senate last night takes important steps for the nation as we battle the public health and economic crisis stemming from this tragic pandemic.

One of the main things that concerns us is the package fails to provide frontline workers with the health and safety protections necessary to keep them from contracting COVID-19. It includes no enforceable workplace standards and does not provide enough resources to frontline workers who are the first line of defense. We need all of our leaders to put science and health and safety before short-term economics. We are working diligently with our legislators to do more for working Americans during this global crisis. More details can be found at: https://uaw.org/senate-passes-cv3-heres-means/.

I want to urge us all to stay safe, stay calm and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.

You can also find updates for members and submit questions that you might have about your worksite at UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/). We are working diligently to provide you with the most up to date information.

To all my brothers and sisters, please be safe. We are in this together.

In solidarity,

Rory L. Gamble

Additional Coronavirus information and resources:

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Click here for a page with resources including a COVID-19 overview from the CDC, details on cases in Michigan, a timeline of Governor Gretchen Whitmer's orders since the outbreak, coronavirus' impact on Southeast Michigan, and links to more information from the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the CDC and the WHO.

View a global coronavirus tracker with data from Johns Hopkins University.

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See complete coverage on our Coronavirus Continuing Coverage page.