The UAW COVID-19 Joint Task Force, which consists of union representatives and personnel from GM, Ford and Stellantis, has lifted the mask mandate for assembly line workers in southeastern Michigan that it implemented back in May.
“Following a meeting on Monday of the COVID-19 Joint Task Force, comprised of the UAW, Ford, General Motors and Stellantis, the Task Force members have determined that masking will be optional at their respective facilities,” the union said in a prepared statement released Tuesday. “If a facility is in a high-risk county as identified by the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the Task Force strongly recommends masking. Each company will communicate when these changes go into effect at their locations.”
The UAW reinstated its mask mandate at certain Michigan facilities in May, including the GM Factory Zero plant in Detroit-Hamtramck, as well as the GM Orion plant in Lake Orion. GM and the Detroit Big Three dropped mask mandates for all individuals regardless of vaccination status back in March, but reserved the right to reinstate the mandate in high-risk areas. Six southeastern Michigan counties had been determined to have high levels of COVID-19 when the mask mandate was reinstated in May, including Wayne, Oakland, Livingston Macomb and Washtenaw.
The UAW said Tuesday that masks will be available to employees who wish to wear one “based on personal preference,” and noted that the “CDC recommends that those who are immunocompromised or high risk for severe disease wear a mask or respirator that provides greater protection,” when in populated public areas.
“The Task Force will continue to monitor data carefully and make any adjustments necessary to protect the health and safety of employees,” the UAW statement also said. “Keeping workplaces safe remains one of the highest priorities of the Task Force members. One of the best ways to fight this virus is by getting vaccinated. The Task Force continues to encourage everyone to get vaccinated against COVID-19 and boosted when eligible, to protect family, friends and communities.”