The United Auto Workers union has released a statement on its stand regarding the planned reopening of facilities by General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles in early May.
“At this point in time, the UAW does not believe the scientific data is conclusive that it is safe to have our members back in the workplace,” the union said.
UAW added that although coronavirus testing is widespread in the United States, it is not enough to “really understand the threat our members face.”
In the statement, the union is also calling on the automakers to ensure maximum health precautions are put in place before letting their workers return to the production lines once they reopen their facilities.
UAW also made clear its approval of the three companies’ response to the pandemic. All parties are continuing their discussions on how to bring workers back to their jobs without compromising their safety.
The Big Three and the UAW are looking at welding curtains on production lines to keep workers separated if the social distancing protocol can’t be followed. There are also reports of some UAW leadership calling for every worker to be provided with personal protective equipment before returning to work.
The three major automakers with production facilities in Detroit announced their decision to temporarily stop vehicle production in all of North America starting mid-March in an effort to slow the spread and transmission of the coronavirus.
Detroit was also among the hardest-hit cities in the United States.
In the last few weeks that they stopped producing vehicles, the three companies channeled their resources into the production of medical equipment. GM is working with the local government of Indiana to build ventilators as well as face masks in Michigan. Ford, meanwhile, is 3D-printing face shields and is also planning to build ventilators and respirators. FCA has also started production of face masks to be distributed across the United States.