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UAW says Big 3 agree to coronavirus protection measures

UAW
Posted at 9:53 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 11:27:15-04

(WXYZ) — The United Auto Workers say they have gotten new reassurances from the Big 3 that they will take measures to protect workers.

This comes after the union had pressured the automakers into shutting down for two weeks to help combat the coronavirus.

The UAW released the following statement Tuesday night describing the new measures:

As you know, the UAW has strongly requested that the Big 3 automakers cease production for the next two weeks to safeguard our members, the workforce that makes their products and our communities.

We spent hours tonight in talks with the leadership of the Big 3, demanding that they do the right thing for our members. All three companies have agreed to new measures that will increase adherence to CDC recommendations on social distancing in the workplace. Most importantly, all three companies have agreed to review and implement the rotating partial shutdown of facilities, extensive deep cleaning of facility and equipment between shifts, extended periods between shifts, and extensive plans to avoid member contact. They will be working on shift rotation to minimize risk. The companies have also agreed to work with us in Washington, D.C., on behalf of our members as we manage the disruption in the industry.

In order to enact these changes, each company will be working with UAW Vice Presidents to implement these improvements and most importantly arranging shifts to be set to adhere to CDC required social distancing and protection of members.

We expect more detailed information to be released in the next 24 hours. I thank you all for your strength during these difficult days.

Fiat Chrysler issued the following statement about the agreement:

Following several days of proactive discussions with our UAW partners focused on providing a safe environment for our employees, we have agreed that in addition to our extensive current protocols to protect our employees, FCA will implement a series of shift pattern and production changes across our manufacturing plants in the United States. These changes, which include rotating shifts to allow for greater separation of employees and further enhancing our new sanitation protocols, are focused on providing a safe environment and peace of mind to our employees at their place of work. Despite the continuing economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 outbreak, FCA continues to work on fulfilling a strong North American order book from both fleet and dealer partners. Following his visits today to multiple company facilities across southeast Michigan, FCA CEO Mike Manley commented: “I spent time today with a number of our employees in our assembly and stamping plants. I wanted to see for myself how we are implementing our new cleaning and workplace protocols, and be assured that we are putting their welfare first as we continue to support the effort to arrest the spread of this virus. Ultimately this will pass, and when it does, it is important to me that we can say we worked hard with our UAW partners to provide the safest work environment for our people."