Monday, 18 May 2020 19:58

Auto Workers Worried About Returning to Plants During Pandemic

Written by Joseph Szczesny, The Detroit Bureau
GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler are all resuming plant operations on a limited basis May 18. GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler are all resuming plant operations on a limited basis May 18.


Other comments on social media posted in threads discussing the re-opening indicated workers were skeptical about the plans for re-opening plants. The virus also has opened old wounds about the old-fashioned blue-collar versus white-collar class divisions built into the industry’s culture.


“Not sure how other plants are doing it. But, at KCAP they are only running days for the first two weeks. The conspiracy side of my brain is thinking Ford is hoping to kill off some of us old heads,” noted one comment.


“This is going to be a shit show,” said another comment on the same thread.


“Problem is they don’t give a damn about us. The video Ford posted about while you’re out we are deep cleaning was bullshit! They sure as hell skipped Lima engine plant,” observed another post in the same thread.


UAW President Rory Gamble said on the eve of the resumption of production the UAW will continue to push automakers to implement safety protocols.


“We will continue to be vigilant in protecting the health and safety of our members, their families and their communities and we will continue to advocate for as much testing as possible and full testing as it becomes available,” Gamble said.


FCA, GM and Ford, which are losing billions of dollars while the plants are closed, are eager to resume production. Ford and GM executives acknowledged in public forums last week their second quarter losses are likely to exceed $2 billion each for the second quarter because of the loss of production during the shutdown.


GM, however, said it expects to have its plants operating at full speed within four weeks. FCA and Ford have been more circumspect, although it is still seems to be an open question whether they will pause for an annual vacation period in July.


We thank The Detroit Bureau for reprint permission. 

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