Detroit Three: Remote Work Goes Into Effect in U.S., Unless You're Working the Line

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
detroit three remote work goes into effect in u s unless youre working the line

The domestic auto industry is quickly shifting into self-isolation mode as best it can, knowing full well that assembly plants can’t churn out shiny new automobiles with line workers sitting in their living rooms.

As North America moves into a new phase of the emerging pandemic, automakers are taking precautionary measures, all the while wondering how long the lights will stay on.

As of Friday morning, Fiat Chrysler, Ford, and General Motors have told salaried workers to work from home, effective Monday morning. Automotive News and journo Michael Martinez report that the Detroit Three are bringing measures already in place overseas to their home base.

“Clearly we are now moving beyond regional hotspots and into planning for how this will impact every area of our business across the world,” said FCA CEO Mike Manley in a letter to staff. Manley calls the effort “Smart Working,” claiming it’s already in effect at FCA offices in China, Korea, Japan, and Italy.

Manley said he plans to issue weekly updates on the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on FCA’s operations.

Obviously, smart working can only go so far. Ford CEO Jim Hackett told employees that those working outside of assembly operations, parts distribution, and certain sales positions are to deliver their labor remotely for the foreseeable future. It goes without saying that the same stipulations affect Ford and GM.

Starting weeks ago, automakers began restricting non-essential global travel among staff — a policy that will continue in place, with some caveats. We told you earlier this week that FCA locations in the U.S. would become off-limits to visitors unless cleared in advance by a higher authority.

[Image: General Motors]

Join the conversation
  • NoID NoID on Mar 13, 2020

    Right now "smart working" isn't mandatory, it's being encouraged but left up to the discretion of managers. Personally, I plan on using it as much as possible because my commute is long and I can do most of my work from home anyways. The challenge will be finding peace and quiet at home since they also canceled school until April 5.

    • See 1 previous
    • Inside Looking Out Inside Looking Out on Mar 13, 2020

      @highdesertcat Don't forget about toilet paper - it a hot item right now.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 15, 2020

    Thoughts at the end of an interesting weekend: • Will be interesting to see how the internet behaves on Monday (with intranet traffic shifting to internet as adults work from home, and every kid home from school and streaming video). • Has someone figured out that someone should be ordering hospital ventilators *now*? (There is a lead time for parts.)

    • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 15, 2020

      • And the grocery store situation - will items be restocked quickly, or will the supply chain have its own issues.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 15, 2020

    This past week, many Americans discovered that it might be a good idea to have more than 2 rolls of toilet paper at home (and those relying on Amazon for just-in-time deliveries might have gotten a surprise). Over the weekend, they got reminded that they don't have much of a food pantry at home. This coming week, they might realize they want some cash on hand.

  • ToolGuy ToolGuy on Mar 15, 2020

    When your salaried employees work from home for an extended period, you find out pretty quickly who the strong contributors are. Bonus: You also find out that if you keep the strong contributors, much of your middle management is no longer needed.