Following the creation of a special task force and a series of negotiations with the UAW, Ford, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles, and General Motors have decided to shut down plants due to the continuous spread of coronavirus in the United States.
In a report published by the Associated Press, an unnamed source familiar with the meeting between the companies and the workers’ union claims the three automakers will suspend production at their plants in the meantime.
The decision comes as a surprise considering the previous stance of the three automakers not to close plants in the coming weeks. They previously stated there will instead be changes in shifts to avoid close contacts, along with the implementation of deep cleans of their factories.
But in a sudden turn of events, UAW leadership was revealed to have demanded that the manufacturers close their plants as a way to protect the workers.
The Associated Press also reported the temporary shutdown would affect around 150,000 workers. They are likely going to receive supplemental pay on top of the state unemployment allowance, which could total to the equivalent of what they would normally make.
As of Tuesday, each of the three manufacturers has one employee who tested positive for COVID-19. The virus that began in China late last year has been ravaging the world in the last few months. Over 14,000 people in the United States have tested positive for the virus, which has also caused the deaths of more than 200 people in the region.