The United Auto Workers is opposed to reopening automotive production plants in early May, with president Rory Gamble saying in a statement that the union “does not believe the scientific data is conclusive that it is safe to have our members back in the workplace.”
“We have not done enough testing to really understand the threat our members face,” Gamble also 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.”
General Motors and crosstown rival Ford have not announced any restart dates or provided a timeline as to when they may get their plants back up and running. Fiat Chrysler, however, has publically stated that it plans to get some of its facilities back online by May 4th – just days after Michigan’s stay-at-home-order is set to be lifted.
The Detroit News obtained a letter that GM sent to employees this week that stated the company was seeking employee volunteers “to support our restart planning.” The automaker has been working with the UAW to implement ways to keep workers safe when its plants get back up and running.
GM also confirmed to the newspaper 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 this week that she wanted to “analyze what the protocols are,” to keep UAW workers safe when they return to their job posts “and start to slowly re-engage in a safe manner.”
The UAW has said The Big Three must supply adequate testing to employees if they return to work and “create an environment where workers are comfortable to self-report symptoms and self-quarantine, without penalty.” The union also wants workers to be able to self quarantine without losing pay, as they may be apprehensive to report symptoms if they believe they will lose their paycheque as a result.
“If this is going to work, we need to do this right.,” Gamble said earlier this week. “And importantly the return to work date should be dictated by the science of the contagion curve, not economic factors. If we do this wrong, we all only have a prolonged economic hardship.”
Source: The Detroit News