General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have agreed to curtail production at their U.S. manufacturing plants to help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).
In a statement released Tuesday, the UAW said the Big Three have agreed “to review and implement the rotating partial shutdown of facilities, extensive deep cleaning of facility and equipment between shifts, extended periods between shifts, and extensive plans to avoid member contact.”
The UAW had previously suggested GM, Ford and FCA implement a two-week shutdown to protect its members from the virus. The union said it “spent hours” in talks with leadership from the three automakers earlier this week, “demanding that they do the right thing for our members.” The parties agreed on a partial production slowdown rather than a complete shutdown.
Workers at GM, Ford and FCA plants in the U.S. will now be working on shift rotation to minimize contact with their colleagues. Workers will also be arranged in a fashion that adheres to the CDC’s required social distancing measures.
The new protocols will also give automakers a larger window to wipe down and properly sanitize equipment before new workers come in.
GM was not immediately available for comment on the matter when approached by Automotive News, but FCA said it remains focused on fulfilling orders despite setbacks brought on by the pandemic.
“These changes. which include rotating shifts to 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,” FCA said in a statement. “Despite the continuing economic turmoil by the COVID 19 outbreak, FCA continues to work on fulfilling a strong North American order book from both fleet and dealer partners”
In addition, the Big Three have also agreed to work with the UAW in Washington, D.C. to discuss and tackle the challenges facing the industry due to the ongoing global pandemic.
As of this writing, there have been a total of 204,060 confirmed cases of coronavirus, while another 82,866 have been resolved. A total of 8,250 have died as a result of the illness.