Thousands of American workers are returning to their manufacturing jobs at Ford, General Motors (GM), and Fiat Chrysler this week after shuttering for nearly two months amid the Chinese coronavirus crisis.
Thousands of autoworkers at 24 Ford plants, 19 GM plants, and eight Fiat Chrysler plants are reopening this week with another five Fiat Chrysler plants reopening on May 26. The plants had closed late March due to fears of the coronavirus spreading at factories, leaving tens of thousands of autoworkers in limbo.
In a statement to the Detroit Free Press, United Auto Workers (UAW) President Rory Gamble said the union would continue to monitor the reopened plants and push for widespread, readily available testing of its workers:
We would like to thank the many UAW members who have worked so hard throughout the shutdown to keep the plants ready for today, as well as members who have worked to reconfigure plants for the safety of all. The UAW will continue to do everything we can to protect the health and safety of all members as plants reopen. And we will continue to advocate for as much testing as possible and full testing as it becomes available.
UAW Local 600 President Bernie Ricke said the 600 autoworkers whom he represents are split over the plants’ reopening — with about half excited to get back to work and the other half with concerns.
Ricke told the Detroit Free Press the plants’ reopening is about striking a balance between returning to the job and taking precautions.
GM executives have said they will offer autoworkers with symptoms of the coronavirus on-site nose swab tests that will produce quick results. Likewise, Ford executives said they have partnered with neighboring medical labs to quickly get tests to autoworkers who are experiencing coronavirus symptoms. Fiat Chrysler executives say they have plans to get symptomatic autoworkers quickly tested but said testing asymptomatic autoworkers is not feasible.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.