General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have agreed to close all US plants and stop production at eight US-based assembly plants as a result of a harmful strain of the corona virus, also known as Legionnaires’ disease.
Under the new agreement, the FCA shutdown affects nearly 1,100 union employees, more than 50,000 hourly workers and over 300,000 non-union employees in 13 states.
“Closing plants is never easy,” said Mike Camara, Ford’s vice president for Human Resources, and chief of Ford’s US plant network. “As we began our discussions with our Teammates, we looked at the facts surrounding legionella that we are being reminded affects a small number of the individuals who have become ill. We also put safety first by closely observing public health officials as they brought this outbreak to light. Today, we feel that a proactive closure is the right thing to do.”
1,100 jobs could be lost as a result of the closings
Production stoppages at FCA USA plants could take place as early as June 10th
Sanford Bernstein analyst Rod Lache expects up to 2,700 jobs could be lost, or approximately half of FCA’s union employees
About 20 to 30 people have reportedly died
General Motors and Ford agreed to close one or more plants in the coming months
AFSCME’s newest local president in Blue Collar to begin work on June 19th
On June 10th FCA will suspend production at the FCA Warren Assembly Plant in Warren, Michigan and the FCA Town of Tonawanda Plant in Tonawanda, New York, both of which have plants in those states
Fiat Chrysler’s dealerships with plants in the eight states involved in the shutdown — Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Wisconsin — will immediately be instructed to stop sales of affected vehicles.
“It is estimated that around 2,500 to 3,000 people could lose their jobs under these plans. I’m not sure how many GM factories are being shut down but the list of impacted suppliers does include around 500,000 people, so a number of Detroit’s suppliers could be impacted as well,” Camara said.
“As the news spread, nervous dealers and sales staff sounded the alarm via tweets, voicemails and Facebook posts,” Camara added. “But as all involved continue to keep their focus on the health and safety of our Teammates, it’s safe to say it was less of a distraction than we all had feared.”
The plant closings are part of the automakers’ voluntary “voluntary separation program,” which is being offered to “eligible US-based Teammates.”
“Teammates are being contacted, and those willing to accept the offer will be considered for involuntary separation once the Worker-to-Worker Reduction Plan is fully underway. Successful participants will receive transition assistance and severance,” GM said in a statement.
The shutdowns are in addition to the ones GM announced last month. GM announced that an Oshawa, Ontario plant will stop production, as well as the Michigan Powertrain plant in Hamtramck, which is a supplier to GM and plant shutdowns in three other locations: Belvidere, Illinois, Warren, Michigan and Lordstown, Ohio.