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Joint Task Force To Limit Coronavirus Spread Formed By Auto Companies And Union In The US

Joint Task Force To Limit Coronavirus Spread Formed By Auto Companies And Union In The US
In the United States, the United Auto Workers (UAW) union is joining hands with country’s top automakers General Motors, Ford Motor Co and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) to form a coronavirus task force that is aimed at bettering protection for their employees as well as take measures so that the spread of the highly contagious virus could be limited.
The parties to the task force said on Sunday that UAW President Rory Gamble, GM Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, Ford CEO Jim Hackett, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford and FCA CEO Michael Manley, would be leading the task force which will also look at other areas such as plans for vehicle production.
According to industry consultants, there can be reduced production or in extreme cases shutdowns, if there is a prolongation or increase in severity of the coronavirus pandemic in the country resulting in workers staying away from work because of infection or because of them staying home to care for children whose schools are closed, even though auto companies typically schedule plant staffing to allow for a certain proportion of absent workers.
On Thursday, workers of a factory of FCA in Canada refused to work over fears of an employee being possibly exposed to the coronavirus and hence it spreading resulting in a 24 hour shutdown of production at the factory.
In a separate announcement about an incident, the Italian-American automaker on Thursday said that an employee of the company currently working at its transmission plant in Indiana had tested positive for the COVID-19 disease, a respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus. The company however has kept the factory open.  
"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," the CEOs of the three companies said in the statement.
Aspects of employees such as their health and safety education, health screening, food service at the automakers' locations would also be focused on by the task force, the parties of the task force said.

Christopher J. Mitchell

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