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Detroit’s Big Three automakers will shut down all of their factories in an effort to protect workers and the further spread of novel coronavirus, according to various industry reports.
On Wednesday, Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles agreed to close all of their factories through March 31, according to a report from Automotive News. The move comes after United Auto Workers President Rory Gamble called on the automakers to stop production temporarily on Tuesday. Two seperate COVID-19 cases have been confirmed at an FCA plant in Sterling Heights and a Ford plant in Wayne. A salaried employee at the General Motors’ Warren Technical Center and a salaried employee at Ford’s Dearborn product development facility also tested positive this week, according to reports.
UAW leadership requested a two-week shutdown of operations at the automakers to safeguard employees and their families.
“UAW leadership feels very strongly, and argued very strongly, that this is the most responsible course of action,” Gamble said in a letter to members. “These companies will be put on notice that the UAW will use any and all measures to protect our brothers and sisters who are working in their facilities.”
The decision will directly idle about 150,000 workers who are likely to receive supplemental pay in addition to unemployment benefits. At this time, it is unclear how many more people throughout the auto industry’s complex supply chain will be affected by these closures.
Earlier on Wednesday, Honda announced that it would pause all operations at its 12 North American factories including transmission and engine plants in Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, Canada and Mexico. The move will affect about 27,600 Honda employees in North America, all of whom will continue to be paid, according to the company.
More details about the closures are expected to be announced later today.