Big 3 Automakers Closing All Plants

Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler Automotive have given in to UAW demands to close all plants as a precaution against the Coronavirus.

Ford Motor Company says after Thursdays shifts, all plants will temporarily close down until March 30 and undergo cleaning its facilities to protect their employees.

GM says that it will begin a “systematic orderly suspension of manufacturing operations in North America due to market conditions and to deep clean facilities and continue to protect people.”

GM’s production will be on hold until at least March 30, and then undergo re-evaluation on a week-to-week basis. A GM spokesman says that employees will be compensated, as they are working out the details with the UAW.

No details have been released from Fiat Chrysler Automotive yet.

Honda North America and BMW also said they are closing due to safety concerns and consumer demand.

Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama had a plant close after an employee tested positive, while a Volkswagon office in Auburn Hills, MI, closed with an employee testing positive.

Workers are relieved and agreed a shutdown was necessary.

Tommy Wolikow, a general assembly worker at General Motors’ Flint Assembly plant, said he worries every day he goes in the plant that he might get coronavirus and pass it on to his children, ages 2 and 7.

“Walking into work each day, I had that feeling that it’s scary walking past somebody and handing parts to somebody. … I could contract the virus,” said Wolikow. “What’s really scary is I feel this hasn’t even peaked yet.” 

“It’s the right thing to do,” said Todd Dunn, president of UAW Local 862, which includes 14,300 members at the Kentucky Truck Plant and Louisville Assembly Plant. “The bigger-picture issue is to figure out a long-term plan. This is not gonna be a two-week issue. This could be a two-month issue. A long-term plan is just as important if not more important.”

See more at the Detroit Free Press.