Late Tuesday evening, the UAW announced each US automaker agreed to implement the rotating “partial shutdown” of facilities. As plants go offline temporarily, crews will arrive to deep clean the facility and equipment between shifts. The break between shifts will also grow longer and these new plans include ways for workers to avoid “member contact,” including rotating shifts.
Ford echoed the UAW in a statement and told Roadshow, “The health and safety of our workforce is our top priority. We’re working closely with the UAW and are aiming to announce details in the next 24 hours.” GM did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
FCA said in its own announcement these measures “allow for greater separation of employees and further enhancing our new sanitation protocols, are focused on providing a safe environment and peace of mind to our employees at their place of work.” The automaker acknowledged the coronavirus, which causes thedisease, has caused “economic turmoil,” but FCA will continue to fill a strong number of orders for fleets and dealers.
While these changes will certainly curb output, they mean each US automaker still plans to keep factories humming along. It’s also a far cry from the UAW’s initial proposal to institute a two-week shutdown for all US factories to protect workers from contracting COVID-19.
All three automakers and the UAW just recentlyto help battle the challenges the coronavirus presents. GM previously confirmed with Roadshow it would shift production schedules to make time for more deep cleaning at its plants and would cut overtime hours.