Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are closing all North American factories amid safety concerns stemming from the novel coronavirus, as global business continues to grind to a halt. GM said it will suspend production at all plants - at different times and on a rolling basis - until at least March 30 and Fiat Chrysler also plans to idle its factories through the end of the month.
The Detroit Three automakers have agreed to shut down their USA plants to stop the spread of coronavirus, bowing to pressure from the union representing about 150,000 hourly workers at those facilities, a person familiar with the matter said on Wednesday. But by Wednesday morning, Honda Motor Co. - which does not employ unionized workers - announced its plan to suspend North American production for six days. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters. The company said it is thoroughly cleaning and disinfecting the building. Local officials said Tesla was preparing to reduce staffing by about 75% at the plant.
GM said its medical team is working to speak with co-workers who may have had direct contact with the infected employee, and they will be told to self-quarantine for 14 days. "By taking a shutdown and working through next steps, we protect UAW members, their families and the community", said Rory Gamble, president of the UAW.
In Nevada, the Storey County Sheriff which represents the area where Tesla's battery plant is located has said the plant is part of the supply chain and can remain open. Some companies agreed to cut overtime work to build space between shifts for added cleaning.
Gamble said the union "will use any and all measures" to protect workers.
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Meanwhile, other automakers in North America are still operating assembly plants, including BMW in Spartanburg, South Carolina; Kia Motors Corp 000270.KS in West Point, Georgia; Daimler AG's DAIGn.DE Mercedes in Vance, Alabama; Volvo Cars in Ridgeville, South Carolina, and Volkswagen AG VOWG_p.DE in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
The moves around Detroit stood in stark contrast with Tesla, whose sole USA auto plant in Fremont, California, has remained operational despite one of the most stringent shelter-in-place orders in the nation.
"They put profits over their workers every time". The email said there would be further communication Wednesday night.
On Wednesday, both the Ford Michigan Assembly Plant and the Fiat Chrysler Sterling heights Assembly Plant closed after workers at each location tested positive for COVID-19.