All Detroit’s auto manufacturers and the United Auto Workers (UAW) union are in discussing safely restarting U.S. manufacturing paused by the coronavirus pandemic, but native union leaders said on Monday any workers who really feel sick have to be allowed to self-quarantine without losing pay.
Thus far, neither the union nor the auto manufactures have declared a deal. However, the Detroit automakers are aiming to restart at least some U.S. plants in early May. Nearly all U.S. automotive production ground to a halt in March as the number of COVID-19 infections grew quickly.
The safety initiatives and sick leave policies the automakers and the UAW agree to would offer a template for auto suppliers and potentially other manufacturing sectors.
Bernie Ricke, president of UAW Native 600, which represents workers Ford Motor’s Dearborn, Michigan, pickup truck factory and at a number of auto suppliers, stated automakers and suppliers have assured him they will permit self-quarantine without sanctions.
Dennis Earl, president of UAW Local 14, which represents over 1,500 staff at GM’s Toledo transmission plant, stated discussions also have included providing enough face masks and shields for employees.
A General Motors spokesman stated the auto manufacturer was in discussions with the union on a wide range of points to ensure employee safety. GM has started producing protective tools for distribution to hospitals and its own workers.
Bruce Baumhower, president of UAW Local 12, which represents nearly 11,000 employees, along with about 6,000 at a Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV Jeep factory in Toledo, stated he was relying on the UAW’s health and safety division to negotiate terms for reopening.