The coronavirus pandemic has impacted the economy in more ways than one. Employees were laid off. Businesses declared bankruptcy and shut its doors forever. Workers are struggling to feed their families.
But for automobile industries that have managed to keep their doors open, employees getting coronavirus is one of the risks that car manufacturers face.
In a news article from Automotive News, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles issued a stern warning to employees after workers at two of its U.S. plants stopped production last week over concern management wasn't properly handling coronavirus risks.
According to Mike Resha, who is also the company's head of manufacturing in North America expressed his anger in a letter saying that "Unauthorized work stoppages in our facilities create both disruption, and, potentially, safety concerns, and therefore cannot be tolerated," Employees found to have instigated unapproved shutdowns will face disciplinary action, and stoppages "will result in zero pay," he further added.
The first stoppage was on June 25 at Jefferson North in Detroit, where a worker who later tested negative was sent home and workers there stopped in solidarity while the second incent was two days after that at Stirling Heights Assembly Plant, also in Michigan, where employees stopped after one of them was sent to get a virus test as noted by Jalopnik.
You can see footage of the video here below from Twitter user 'king string bean'.
https://t.co/tAN996f08D pic.twitter.com/ISMvENeupd — king string bean (@GIMMEAPCNOW15) June 26, 2020
A representative for Fiat Chrysler declined to comment on the letter. But the letter further stated that the company has tightened health screening procedures in their manufacturing plants and that employees will be fired immediately if they fail to answer the health-screening questionnaires truthfully.
The UAW is pushing for companies to enhance health and safety protocols and address concerns of its members, Brian Rothenberg, a spokesman for the union, said after last week's incidents.
Automotie News' report shows that sometime in June, the workers at Ford Motor Co. factories in Michigan and Missouri questioned the automaker's safety protocols after multiple workers tested positive for COVID-19.
The American car manufacturer mentioned that health and safety measures are in place that were explained in a return-to-work playbook the company crafted along with the UAW. GM said Tuesday it hadn't made any changes to production schedules at Arlington because it has protocols in place to protect workers.
The UAW local at General Motors' SUV plant in Arlington, Texas, also pushed for the automaker to temporarily close the facility, citing the spike in COVID-19 cases in the area.
Just recently, Fiat Chrysler releases the Dodge Durango Hellcat as 'most powerful SUV ever' saying that the vehicle has 710 horsepower and 645 pound-feet of torque when it goes into production next year.
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