U.S. automakers are making plans to start reopening North American factories on May 18th as part of a gradual return to normal operations. However, that date still depends on the lifting of restrictions imposed by Michigan’s governor.
Currently Michigan’s “Stay at Home” order is in effect until May 15th. All Detroit automakers will likely open about the same time because Big Three workers are represented by the same union.
The United Auto Workers Union President Rory Gamble, in talks with auto makers, said, “These talks are fluid and ongoing to ensure safe protocols are followed when the companies reopen.”
Auto plants have been shut down since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic. At least 25 employees at auto facilities represented by the UAW have died from the virus. Last week, Whitmer hinted that auto plants may soon reopen as the curve of cases continues to flatten. She said the reopening could take place as long as auto makers can ensure employees feel safe.
The UAW said in a press release that workers will return to auto plants starting May 18th, and it has agreed on safety procedures to protect them.
Mike Manly, CEO of Fiat Chrysler, told employees in a letter, “We are ready to restart. We have a comprehensive plan to get our operations up and running again, drawing on global best practices and at all times ensuring the safety and well-being of our employees. I firmly believe that our company is in a position where, as the market recovers, we can get back to that positive momentum we were experiencing prior to this pandemic.”
Reporting for WGRT – Marty Doorn