Just as it’s affected you in some way, the coronavirus pandemic has affected the auto industry, with shows postponed and reveals being delayed. For those that work in automotive manufacturing, the virus could heavily impact their jobs. Because of this, we are seeing an unprecedented cooperation between America’s auto giants.
UAW, FCA, GM, and Ford executives and CEO’s will lead a new, collective task force to protect their workers. Their joint statement says the following: “This is a fluid and unprecedented situation, and the task force will move quickly to build on the wide-ranging preventive measures we have put in place. We are all coming together to help keep our workforces safe and healthy.”
Never mind that GM and FCA are in the middle of a lawsuit involving UAW labor negotiations. The truce flags are being waved.
While production lines are not shutting down for any companies (for now), they will have some significant changes. The factories will have additional screening for employees and visitors, increased cleaning and sanitation, and will create protocol for people who begin to exhibit symptoms. In addition, there will be a focus on social distancing, break scheduling, and food service. Medical staff at all three companies also back the task force.
The remarkable thing about this is that the usual automotive competitors have come together to fight the virus in their factories as one. Each company could have created their own responses to Coronavirus, but they did it together. Rory Gamble, UAW President, convened the leaders of the companies to work together over this. Interestingly, he said, “All options related to protecting against exposure to the virus are on the table”. This could indicate that there is a chance factories could shut down if things get worse.
This is one of the first times we have seen the major American automakers working together for something. Even during the 2008 financial crisis, the companies stayed separate. Now, however, there will be standard protocol to handle the epidemic across all companies. Stay tuned to see what results from this new task force, and their additional measures in the fight against Coronavirus.