By on June 5, 2020

FCA sign, Image: Fiat Chrysler Automobiles

You read yesterday how Ford Motor Company plans to keep its salaried workforce working from homes presumably overflowing with baking flour and yeast until September — a measure designed to combat spread of the novel coronavirus.

Ford’s Detroit rivals have shown themselves to be pretty much on the same page in terms of pandemic response, though one player has always seemed a little more eager to return to a normal existence than the others.

That would be Fiat Chrysler, which told the Detroit Free Press that certain white-collar employees have already returned to work. These positions are at testing facilities, with FCA claiming the duties performed there can’t be replicated remotely. Someone needs to be on-site.

The vast majority of its salaried workforce remains locked in the den or stuck at the kitchen table. However, FCA did reveal a plan to filter white-collar types back into the office, bit by bit.

“Our cadence of welcoming employees back to their workspace will take place slowly and responsibly, as we bring people back in deliberate waves through the summer,” FCA spokeswoman Shawn Morgan told Freep.

General Motors remained quiet as to its plans for a workforce return, telling the publication it has no “set date” for a general return to office-based work. A number of elements will factor into that decision, the automaker said.

Claiming that remote working is thus far “going very well,” GM spokesman David Caldwell said, “Obviously, there are regional differences and the Warren Technical Center, for example, has many different types of staffs so the business needs will dictate the timetables.”

[Image: General Motors]

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2 Comments on “A Break From the Fam: As the Detroit Three White-collar Crowd Cools Its Heels At Home, Fiat Chrysler Has a Plan...”

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    This really isn’t different than F or GM. People who do hand-on work are certainly going into the office/lab to be productive.

    It’s the same at my company; I’m now home 80% of the time, but I still need to visit the lab about 1 day a week.

  • avatar

    The big question is the effect of the merger with PSA. This might be a good time to cull the herd. The honchos will call it “synergies”, or something like that, but it might add up to a significant number of office staff being cut loose rather than recalled.

    Both FCA and PSA are hurting for cash, with FCA having almost $11 billion in credit lines, and PSA with $7 billion. Both are trying to speed up the merger process, with their stock price taking a hit due to the rumor the normal dividend won’t be paid this year, and sales having dried up.

    There’s a need for rationalisation of the multiple nameplates in the combined company, with Chrysler, Dodge, Lancia, and DS likely to be dropped. That has to trigger a reduction in office workers, and what better time to reduce office manpower levels than now?

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