UAW: Worker from FCA Transport in Sterling Heights dies from coronavirus (COVID-19)


STERLING HEIGHTS, Mich. – A worker from FCA Transport in Sterling Heights has died from coronavirus (COVID-19), UAW officials said Thursday.

UAW President Rory Gamble confirmed the death in a letter providing an update on the COVID-19 situation.

No details surrounding the death were provided.

Two other FCA workers, including a worker from the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, have also died from COVID-19.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, the state is reporting 2,856 cases of COVID-19 in Michigan, and 60 people have died.

Read the full letter below:

"As this crisis continues, each day we get news of another brother or sister who has fallen to this terrible virus. Today, I am so sorry to report that one of our members at FCA Transport in Sterling Heights, Michigan, has died from the virus. I, along with Vice President Cindy Estrada and the entire International Executive Board extend our heartfelt sympathies and prayers to our dear brother’s family and friends.

"This is truly a time for us all to come together and help one another. We are living in an unprecedented situation and working every day to do the right thing. Today, Ford Motor Company announced that they plan to reopen U.S. production in some plants on April 14.

"Here is what we had to say about that: “The UAW continues to review, with great caution and concern, decisions being made about restarting workplaces, especially at advanced dates. These decisions should be informed by data and where each state is on the contagion curve. The UAW maintains that strict CDC guidelines need to be adhered to at all worksites, and that prior to reopening, sufficient data and protections are in place to ensure the safety of our members, their families and the public. 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?’

"As we all know, this situation is changing hour by hour, day by day. We will continue to work around the clock to ensure that everything in our power is being done to safeguard our members, and we will keep you updated.

"Additionally, General Motors announced today that Arlington Assembly in Texas is soliciting volunteers from its workforce to finish the build out of its current model truck for its customers and to maintain critical business priorities. As employee safety is our priority, Arlington Assembly is putting in numerous safeguards including, but not limited to, thermal temperature scanning, individual questionnaires, additional personal protective equipment and cleaning crews and limiting work to one shift per day for social distance. This work is expected to last one week or less after which all volunteers would return to layoff status. This voluntary temporary restart of work to finish the build out of current models is only at Arlington Assembly, other GM locations are not affected.

"On Capitol Hill, the legislation unanimously passed in the Senate last night takes important steps for the nation as we battle the public health and economic crisis stemming from this tragic pandemic.

"One of the main things that concerns us is the package fails to provide frontline workers with the health and safety protections necessary to keep them from contracting COVID-19. It includes no enforceable workplace standards and does not provide enough resources to frontline workers who are the first line of defense. We need all of our leaders to put science and health and safety before short-term economics. We are working diligently with our legislators to do more for working Americans during this global crisis. More details can be found at: https://uaw.org/senate-passes-cv3-heres-means/.

"I want to urge us all to stay safe, stay calm and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.

"You can also find updates for members and submit questions that you might have about your worksite at UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/). We are working diligently to provide you with the most up to date information.

“To all my brothers and sisters, please be safe. We are in this together.”

MORE: What the CDC says you should do if you believe you have coronavirus (COVID-19)

How COVID-19 Spreads

Person-to-person spread

The virus is thought to spread mainly from person-to-person.

  • Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
  • Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.

These droplets can land in the mouths or noses of people who are nearby or possibly be inhaled into the lungs.

Can someone spread the virus without being sick?

  • Spread is possible before people show symptoms. People who are not showing symptoms can still be carrying the virus and can still pass it on to other people.

Spread from contact with contaminated surfaces or objects

It may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

How easily the virus spreads

How easily a virus spreads from person-to-person can vary. Some viruses are highly contagious (spread easily), like measles, while other viruses do not spread as easily. Another factor is whether the spread is sustained, spreading continually without stopping.

Prevention & Treatment

There is currently no vaccine to prevent coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19). The best way to prevent illness is to avoid being exposed to this virus. However, as a reminder, CDC always recommends everyday preventive actions to help prevent the spread of respiratory diseases, including:

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.

Click here for more guidelines from the CDC.

People who think they may have been exposed to COVID-19 should contact their healthcare provider immediately.

Question about coronavirus? Ask Dr. McGeorge here.

Read more about coronavirus here.