Big Three automakers to close plants through March 30

Ford, GM, and Fiat workers' union wants car factories shut down for two weeks during COVID-19

Big Three automakers to close plants through March 30

The United Auto Workers asked the automakers to reconsider their position on Wednesday, a day after the parties agreed to slow production at US plants and limit the number of workers on the job at one time to prevent the spread of the virus, said the source who asked not to be identified. But the companies-Ford, GM, and Fiat Chrysler-"were not willing to implement this request", the UAW said.

Ford said it will work with union leaders in the coming weeks on plans to restart factories. Closings will run from a few days to nearly two weeks, but most automakers said they'll have to evaluate the spread of the virus before reopening. "We're working closely with the UAW and will have more to say at a later time". "Fortunately, they made a decision to do the right thing I think", UAW Local 602 Vice President Steve Delaney said.

Officials have recommended that people not gather in large groups and try to stay at least 6 feet (about 2 metres) from each other to stop the virus that causes COVID-19 from spreading.

Honda Motor Co., which has a vehicle plant in Alliston, Ont., announced Wednesday morning it would temporarily close its factories in North America for one week starting on Monday. That period ended Tuesday afternoon.

The Detroit Three automakers have yet to issue profit warnings, but Germany's BMW BMWG.DE said on Wednesday its 2020 profit would be "significantly lower" than past year.

At this time it seems the automakers are focusing on manufacturing and assembly plants.

The dispute came as union members complained that continued work at the plants would expose them to the virus.

"Out of an abundance of caution for the health and welfare of the employees at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, FCA is suspending production on Wednesday, March 18".

"Today's action is the prudent thing to do".

They're putting "the production of vehicles before the health and safety of their employees", he said, noting that more than 4,000 workers were still on the job the Dearborn Truck Plant. No other Hyundai factories have been announced to be closing besides the Alabama location. "You could have a whole lot of people sick and a whole lot of families suffering as a result of this". Ford reported Tuesday that sales had fallen in Europe and that parts supplies have been interrupted.

The union is meeting with the companies today, so expect an update on this soon. Fiat Chrysler has not release its plans. A worker at an FCA transmission plant in Kokomo, Indiana, tested positive for the virus last week. During the downtime, the facilities will be deep cleaned.

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