“We’re not out of the woods yet, but this is an important step forward on our MI Safe Start plan to re-engage our economy safely and responsibly. As we continue to phase in sectors of our economy, I will keep working around the clock to ensure our businesses adopt best practices to protect workers from the spread of COVID-19. When we all keep doing our part, we can reduce the risk of a second wave and re-engage our economy safely and responsibly.”
“Pickup truck sales have been the one bright spot for automakers during this pandemic, but inventory is in danger of being in short supply if the halt in production continues beyond mid-May,” Caldwell said.
The governor’s announcement is a major step forward in restarting the state’s economy from the coronavirus pandemic, after a state of emergency was declared in Michigan on March 10 and a stay-at-home order issued March 23.
As for other sectors, residential and commercial construction, in-person real estate sales, and outdoor sectors such as parking enforcement and forestry resumed Thursday under an earlier easing of restrictions announced by Whitmer.
“Michigan Republicans in the state Legislature have been pushing for the governor to work with them to accomplish this task for weeks.” she said. However, “the governor would rather waste time playing politics than getting things done. It’s time for Gretchen Whitmer to work with Republicans and end her pointless power grab.”
Whitmer praised the industry and the UAW for agreeing to safe protocols for restarting. Required safety protocols include daily entry screenings for workers and others entering the facilities, including a questionnaire and temperature measurements. There must also be dedicated entry points at every facility, and suspension of all nonessential in-person visits, including tours.
For the Detroit Three and Michigan auto parts suppliers, the news is relief. The carmakers and their suppliers must be in sync to restart operations given the supply chain.
“We’ve been working intently with state and federal governments, our union partners and a cross-section of our workforce to reopen our North American facilities,” said Jim Farley, Ford’s chief operating officer.
All three idled their assembly plants in March after the UAW pressured a shutdown to protect the 150,000 U.S. factory workers from the spreading coronavirus. Many of the Detroit Three’s parts distribution centers have continued to run.
The governor's announcement is a major step forward in restarting the state's economy from the coronavirus pandemic.
The United Auto Workers union on Tuesday appeared to be onboard.
Gamble said his family will be among those returning to work, and the union will make sure safety guidelines will be followed.
The UAW said in a prepared statement that workers will return to auto plants starting May 18, and it has agreed on safety procedures to protect them. Under its contracts with Fiat Chrysler, General Motors and Ford, the companies have authority to pick restart dates. But the union can file grievances and seek closures if the virus spreads at factories.
Manley said a lot depends on whether Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer allows factories to reopen.
Detroit automakers employ about 150,000 factory workers in the United States alone. Auto plants have been shut since mid-March because of the outbreak. At least 25 employees at auto facilities represented by the UAW have died as a result of COVID-19, although it’s not known if they were infected at work.
Fiat Chrysler CEO Mike Manley said on an earnings conference call Tuesday his company plans to start reopening factories May 18, though that depends on an easing of government restrictions.
(DETROIT) — Major U.S. automakers are planning to reopen North American factories within two weeks, potentially putting thousands of workers back on the assembly line as part of a gradual return to normality.
“The UAW will fulfill its role to continue to actively monitor and aggressively respond regarding all issues impacting the health and safety of UAW members in whatever manner may be necessary as we return to the worksite,” Gamble said in a prepared statement.
Right now, Michigan’s shelter-at-home order is in effect until May 15.
Major U.S. automakers are planning to reopen North American factories within two weeks, potentially putting thousands of workers back on the assembly line.