Last week, General Motors, Ford Motor, and Fiat Chrysler declared that employees whose responsibilities do not require them to be present at plants must work from home and implemented new measures to contain the spread of the COVID-19, including additional cleaning, sanitizing supplies and visitor restrictions. Early today, Honda announced it was pausing all operations at its 12 North American factories, including transmission and engine plants in Ohio, Indiana, Alabama, Canada and Mexico. "We're working closely with the UAW and are aiming to announce details in the next 24 hours".
GM said it will begin cutting production today in a cadence.
At this time it seems the automakers are focusing on manufacturing and assembly plants.
Messages were left seeking comment from Fiat Chrysler. It will start after Thursday evening shifts, and it's not clear when or how long FCA and GM will close plants for.
Approximately 150,000 auto workers are employed at factories in the U.S. Once idled, these workers likely will receive supplemental pay in addition to state unemployment benefits, the AP reported. The two checks combined will about equal what the workers normally make. But workers, especially in some Fiat Chrysler factories, were still afraid and were pressuring the union to seek full closings.
A UAW spokesman said the union has been consistent in its desire for a shutdown of the automakers' US plants to better protect workers, but he declined to confirm the new request.
A second auto plant in metro Detroit is shutting down temporarily after an employee tested positive for COVID-19. Production continued even though Alameda County on Tuesday night declared it a "nonessential business" under the county's shelter-in-place order.
The note said production workers should still report for work unless they aren't feeling well. UAW officials told members Tuesday that they tried to shut the plants down Sunday, but the companies were not willing to do that at the time.
All three companies initiated work at home programs for white-collar employees in recent days.