Ford, GM, FCA to increase social distancing, change shift schedules in plants during coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

Plants will remain open

Ford F-150 assembly at Dearborn Truck Plant (Ford Motor Co.)

DETROIT – Ford Motor Co., General Motors and Fiat-Chrysler will keep their plants open, despite a call from United Auto Workers (UAW) leadership to close them.

UPDATE: Ford, GM, FCA to shut down all plants due to coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

READ: UAW president calls for automakers to close plants due to coronavirus

President Rory Gamble said union leadership asked Ford, GM and FCA for a two-week shutdown of operations to safeguard members from the coronavirus outbreak.

The three automotive companies have kept production going at American facilities amid the crisis, only allowing workers who can work from home do so. That of course means production line workers have remained on the job.

Workers are close to each other in the factories, and employees are upset they are still on the job despite numerous other businesses and gathering places closing.

Union leaders and automaker officials discussed the issue for hours Tuesday.

Read a statement from the UAW below:

"As you know, the UAW has strongly requested that the Big 3 automakers cease production for the next two weeks to safeguard our members, the workforce that makes their products and our communities.

"We spent hours tonight in talks with the leadership of the Big 3, demanding that they do the right thing for our members. All three companies have agreed to new measures that will increase adherence to CDC recommendations on social distancing in the workplace. Most importantly, all three companies have agreed to review and implement the rotating partial shutdown of facilities, extensive deep cleaning of facility and equipment between shifts, extended periods between shifts, and extensive plans to avoid member contact. They will be working on shift rotation to minimize risk. The companies have also agreed to work with us in Washington, D.C., on behalf of our members as we manage the disruption in the industry.

"In order to enact these changes, each company will be working with UAW Vice Presidents to implement these improvements and most importantly arranging shifts to be set to adhere to CDC required social distancing and protection of members.

“We expect more detailed information to be released in the next 24 hours. I thank you all for your strength during these difficult days.”