Automotive industry stalwarts General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are in discussions with the United Auto Works union regarding plans to restart work in their respective plants.
The three manufacturers have reportedly begun talks with the union group over the necessary safety protocols that will be implemented as the companies look to resume production in the United States amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The automakers are among those that temporarily halted their U.S. production over a month ago in a bid to curb the spread of the virus.
According to a Reuters report, union leaders said a final deal must include the ability for workers to self-quarantine without losing pay, should they contract COVID-19.
Other leaders are said to be lobbying for all workers to have access to proper protective gear inside the facilities before resuming production in the factories. Another solution brought to the table is to weld curtains between work stations for those who are unable to maintain a distance of 6 feet on the job.
“If this is going to work, we need to do this right,” a UAW spokesperson said in a statement. “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 will only have prolonged economic hardship.”
A spokesperson for Ford said in a statement: “Ford and the UAW are working closely to identify different ways to keep our people safe when they return to work. Meanwhile, we are continuing to assess public health conditions, government guidelines, and supplier readiness to determine when the time is right to resume production in our North American plants.”
FCA also said it is “working closely with government at all levels and our unions to ensure we have effective protocols in place to protect our employees when production resumes.”
Ford, FCA, and GM have not released information on the exact dates they plan to re-open their facilities.