Toronto, Ontario — Detroit’s Big Three automakers, General Motors, Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles are forcing a coronavirus task force alongside Canada’s Unifor union to improve protection procedures for their employees and limit the spread of the highly contagious virus.
The three automakers also launched a task force with the United Auto Workers union, which represents automotive workers in the U.S.
Both forces will be focusing on various automotive areas affected by the virus, such as vehicle production plans.
The news came just hours after Unifor Local 88 called for a two-week shutdown of its GM CAMI plant in Ingersoll, Ont., where its union members assemble the Chevrolet Equinox. The decision was reportedly made after Local 88 Unit 1 chairperson Mike van Boekel pushed for GM to put approximately 2,500 workers at the CAMI plant on layoff for a minimum of two weeks beginning Mar. 23.
If the global pandemic continues to worsen, it could lead to reduced production—or further shutdowns.
Volkswagen has temporarily closed assembly plants for varying lengths of time in the United States, while production at Windsor, Ont.’s FCA minivan plant was halted for 24 hours last week amid employee concerns about contracting the virus.
“People are nervous,” said Unifor president Jerry Dias. “The unfortunate reality is—and I’m praying that I’m wrong—but that we’re going to be seeing a lot more of this. Things are changing so quickly—every day you wake up and it’s worse.”
Stay tuned to Collision Repair for frequent coronavirus updates catered to the collision community.