- A Fiat Chrysler employee who worked at the company’s Warren Truck assembly plant in Michigan died Wednesday of COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, United Auto Workers union President Rory Gamble said in a statement.
- As of Thursday, three FCA employees are known to have died from COVID-19.
- Amid pressure from the UAW to protect the health of members, the Big Three US carmakers – FCA, Ford, and General Motors – announced last week that they would close all North American plants to curtail the spread of the coronavirus.
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Another Fiat Chrysler Automobiles employee has died due to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus, United Auto Workers President Rory Gamble said in a statement on Wednesday. The announcement brings the number of known FCA workers who have died as a result of the disease to three.
“One of our members at FCA Warren Truck in Michigan passed away today due to the Coronavirus,” the statement read. “On behalf of myself and the entire International Executive Board, I want to extend our sincerest sympathies to the family and friends of our dear member.”
In the statement, Gamble added that “today FCA officials sent home the few remaining Mopar workers at the parts-distribution centre in Centre Line, Michigan, after at least one employee tested positive for the virus.” That facility, Gamble said, was being operated by paid volunteers and is being deep cleaned.
The announcement follows Tuesday’s news that two FCA plant workers – one at the company’s Kokomo, Indiana, facility and another at its Sterling Heights, Michigan, plant – had died of the disease. According to Automotive News, those two employees were the first known US auto workers to have died from it.
Last week, the Big Three US automakers – Ford, General Motors, and Fiat Chrysler – committed to a full shutdown of North American plants in an effort to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, which has, as of this publishing, infected more than 521,000 people and killed more than 23,000 worldwide. The UAW had been pushing the Big Three to close US plants for days as new cases of the virus among auto workers continued to grow.
“Today’s action is the prudent thing to do,” Gamble said following the Big Three’s announcement of plant closures in North America. “By taking a shutdown and working through next steps, we protect UAW members, their families and the community.”
But on Thursday, tensions between the UAW and Ford began to rise again following the manufacturer’s announcement that it would restart production at some plants – with additional safety measures in place – to generate extra cash flow.
“The UAW continues to review with great caution and concern decisions being made about restarting workplaces, especially at advanced dates,” Gamble said in a statement. “The only guideline in a boardroom should be management asking themselves, ‘Would I send my family – my own son or daughter – into that plant and be 100% certain they are safe.'”
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