Work Starts Anew? The Latest on When Autoworkers Head Back

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems

With Ford looking to get pickups rolling off the assembly line again by April 6th, where does its rivals stand?

The list is far from complete, and schedules for resuming production are fluid as a 1950s executive’s lunch, but there’s details to share on when certain U.S. autoworkers might be headed back to the factory.

Toyota, which joined just about every other automaker in shutting down production last week, has extended its lights-out period, now claiming that the shutdown — originally expected to last until April 3rd — will last until the 17th. Production in Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. will resume on April 20th, Toyota claims, adding that its parts depots and logistics centers continue operations.

“We will continue to monitor the situation and take appropriate action in a timely manner,” the automaker said in a statement.

For General Motors and Fiat Chrysler, with home bases in Michigan (a state where Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s close-up-shop order on non-essential businesses runs out on April 13th), it’s looking like work, at least some of it, might restart on the 14th. For the record, the non-essential business order is hazy, as most things seem to be in this new reality.

GM said its shutdown would see reevaluations each week following March 30th, with UAW President Roy Gamble saying Fiat Chrysler has no intention of resuming production on March 3oth in a letter to members obtained by Reuters. That automaker just saw two workers die of COVID-19.

FCA, which just joined its Detroit rivals in securing cash via a new credit line (this one worth 3.8 billion), is reportedly coming back online April 14th. Per a tweet from CNBC’s Michael Wayland, FCA says the return to production is “dependent upon the various state stay in place orders,” as well as the readiness of those facilities.

The UAW, which pressured the Detroit Three to close up shop in the first place, is hesitant to endorse any return to work. “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 union’s position is that plant reopenings “should be informed by data and where each state is on the contagion curve,” with each facility adhering to public health guidelines set by the CDC.

“The only guideline in a boardroom,” Gamble said, “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?'”

[Image: Fiat Chrysler

Steph Willems
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  • Thelaine Thelaine on Mar 27, 2020

    There was no need to wreck our economy to fight this virus. Next winter we will have another corona virus along with a new version of the flu. Tens of thousands of people will die from it, mostly the elderly and the sick. We typically suffer between 20 and 60 thousand dead. What will we do????????? Should we or should we not destroy our economy next winter in order, supposedly, to show compassion to the elderly? If we don't, are we selfish monsters who hate old people? We have taken a hammer to ourselves in a fit of hysteria. It is inexcusable and shameful. The destruction we have deliberately caused is going to devastate an untold number of families. I believe this is the first time in the history of our nation that we have deliberately sabotaged our own economy as a matter of policy. Our behavior is absolutely unforgivable and will not be looked upon favorably by future generations, who will see it as we see the behavior of people during the Salem witch hunts, and other such mass hysteria events. Poverty is the biggest killer of all; mind, spirit AND body. Those who have not experienced it have no idea what joblessness really means and have no business whatsoever preaching about compassion.

    • See 5 previous
    • Lou_BC Lou_BC on Mar 28, 2020

      @JimZ - There is a weak correlation between low intelligence and being a Trumpster. However, there is an extremely strong correlation between a lack of knowledge/education i.e. ignorance and being a Trumpster. If one takes a Myers-Briggs test and scores extremely low on "Agreeableness", there is a strong probability for that person to gravitate towards Trumpism. To @thelaines credit, he has been reasonably polite. @markf on the other hand....

  • Thelaine Thelaine on Mar 27, 2020

    Answer this question, all you compassionate feelings people who love the elderly so very much: Next winter we will have another corona virus along with a new version of the flu. Tens of thousands of people will die from it, mostly the elderly and the sick. We typically suffer between 20 and 60 thousand dead. What will we do????????? Flu virus is a deadly infectious disease. If we shut down our economy, we can limit the spread of the flu virus and potentially save old people. Should we or should we not destroy our economy next winter in order to show compassion to the elderly? If we don’t, are we selfish monsters who hate old people?

    • See 7 previous
    • EGSE EGSE on Mar 30, 2020

      @Lou_BC And POTUS also said he may have to extend it again after that term runs out. "Trump extends virus guidelines, braces US for big death toll" "Trump, who has largely avoided talk of potential death and infection rates, cited projection models that said potentially 2.2 million people or more could have died had social distancing measures not been put in place. And he said the country would be doing well if it “can hold” the number of deaths “down to 100,000.” He said the best case for the country would be for the death rate to peak in about two weeks." "Trump acknowledged that he may be forced to extend the guidelines again at the end of April, but expressed hope that by June 1, “we should be well on our way to recovery.”" "Trump was clearly moved by the scenes from New York, particularly hard-hit Elmhurst Hospital in his native Queens. “I’ve been watching that for the last week on television,” he said. ”Body bags all over, in hallways. I’ve been watching them bring in trailer trucks — freezer trucks, they’re freezer trucks, because they can’t handle the bodies, there are so many of them. This is essentially in my community, in Queens, Queens, New York,” he continued. “I’ve seen things that I’ve never seen before.”" Link so even thelaine can read it:

  • EBFlex Ford finally making a good decision although they should shut down their EV operations and investment all together. Why lose that money too?
  • Mike Lol. This is the king of suvs. And its made by GM.Why is everyone trashing it?Top of its its class for a quarter century.
  • Frank Drove past there last week, plant has a huge poster of a bronco on the outside. I was thinking "Is that where they build the new broncos?" I know they use to make the Edge and that other mundane SUV there but I believe both have been canned.
  • CanadaCraig Toyota saw this coming. So good for them for being courageous enough to say, "Wait a minute. Let's not rush into anything."
  • Rna65689660 As the previous owner of a Triumph, and current owner of a MINI, I say, LOL!