The Detroit Big Three want to reopen their respective U.S. production facilities on May 18th, according to a recent report from The Wall Street Journal.
While the report indicated General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler were targeting the May date to get their plants back online, they have yet to make an official announcement. Additionally, the UAW told Automotive News that it had not been notified of a potential restart date from any of the Big Three.
The UAW is currently in discussion with GM, Ford and FCA over when to reopen plants and how they will keep employees safe when production eventually does get back underway. UAW leader Rory Gamble warned automakers last week against starting production too early and said the U.S. still has not conducted enough tests to properly gauge the threat COVID-19 poses to the public.
“We have not done enough testing to really understand the threat our members face,” Gamble said. “We want to make sure the scientific data is supportive and every possible health protocols and enhanced protections are in place before UAW members walk into the workplace.”
GM sent a letter to some employees last week saying that it was “notifying a small number of team members, primarily salaried and skilled trades employees, that we may need them to report to work soon.” Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer also said she wanted to “analyze what the protocols are,” that the Big Three will put in place to keep UAW workers safe when they return to their job posts “and start to slowly re-engage in a safe manner.”
GM, as well as Ford, reiterated this week that they have no firm restart date set. FCA said previously that it would like to get certain plants back up and running by May 4th, though this is looking increasingly unlikely.
When UAW employees return to work, it is expected they will be supplied with the proper PPE to help protect them from contracting COVID-19. Automakers will also take other measures, most likely, including taking employee temperatures when employees arrive at work, having them fill out daily health questionnaires and providing special wristbands that vibrate when workers get too close to one another.