Automakers, union form joint task force to limit coronavirus in the US

Detroit Three automakers, General Motors, Ford Motor, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

American automakers General Motors, Ford Motor and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) are forming a coronavirus task force together with the United Auto Workers (UAW) union to enhance protections for their workers and limit the spread of coronavirus.

The task force, which would be concentrating on areas consisting of vehicle production plans, is being headed by UAW President Rory Gamble, GM CEO Mary Barra, Ford CEO Jim Hackett, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and FCA CEO Michael Manley, the parties stated.

Though automakers generally schedule plant staffing to permit for a certain proportion of absent workers, according to industry consultants, if the outbreak causes higher levels because of infection or workers staying home to care for children whose schools are closed, that could lead to decreased production or in extreme cases shutdowns.

Production at an FCA assembly plant in Canada was stopped for 24 hours after workers there declined to work on Thursday over fears of a worker being possibly exposed to the coronavirus.

Separately on Thursday, the Italian-American automaker stated that one of its workers had tested positive for COVID-19, a respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus, at its transmission plant in Indiana. The plant, however, was not closed.

“This is a fluid and unprecedented situation, and the task force will move swiftly to build on the wide-ranging preventive measures we have put in place,” said the CEOs of the three automakers.

The task force would also be concentrating on aspects such as health and safety education, health screening, food service at the locations of the automakers.

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