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Published 3/17/2020
1:38pm

UAW to Big 3: Close for Two Weeks

Union Says GM, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Should Suspend Operations Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

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If the United Auto Workers has its way, General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler will suspend operations for two weeks to protect the health and safety of employees.

Acting President Rory Gamble wrote the following letter to members:

Brothers and Sisters,

I’m going to get right to the point. I want you to know exactly where we are with our discussions with the Big 3 leadership and protecting our members and their facilities during this international crisis.

I announced this past Sunday that the International UAW had formed a COVID-19/Coronavirus task force with GM, Ford and FCA to implement enhanced protections for manufacturing and warehouse employees at all three companies.

I want to be very transparent about what happened during our conversation Sunday with the Big 3. The UAW leadership, based on the World Health Organization (WHO) and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations on how to protect ourselves and our communities, requested a two-week shutdown of operations to safeguard our members, our families and our communities. Your UAW leadership feels very strongly, and argued very strongly, that this is the most responsible course of action.

The companies, however, were not willing to implement this request.

They asked for 48 hours to put together plans to safeguard workers in their facilities. (Ford Motor Company has indicated this week that they are willing to rotate down shifts and are planning to shut down all European operations next week.) The 48-hour window is up this afternoon. We will be evaluating what the companies submit today and there will be a meeting this evening at 6 p.m., where the Task Force will review plans for the safety and health of all members, their families and our communities.

I want to be very clear here: If the UAW leadership on the task force, myself and Vice Presidents Cindy Estrada, Terry Dittes and Gerald Kariem, are not satisfied that our members will be protected, we will take this conversation to the next level.

These companies will be put on notice that the UAW will use any and all measures to protect our brothers and sisters who are working in their facilities. And make no mistake, we have powerful allies who have stepped up to help us. Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer, despite what you might have heard in some recent erroneous reports, was instrumental in assisting us in bringing the Big 3 to the table, as was U.S. Representative Debbie Dingell.

I know these are very difficult days for all of us. Please know that my #1 priority, and the #1 priority of the entire UAW leadership, is the safety and well-being of our UAW family and our communities.

I will be sending another update very soon on what we see from the Big 3 today.

I’d like to ask that we all remember that we are all in this together.

In Solidarity,

Rory

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3/15/2020 Update

Monday, all K-12 schools in the state of Michigan will be closed to help prevent the spread of the Novel Coronavirus. Governor Gretchen Whitmer made the announcement after 10 more cases if coronavirus were confirmed positive in state.

The Michigan Department of Transportation is planning a 15-and-a-half-million-dollar project. MDOT announced crews will begin resurfacing Eight Mile Road between I-75 in Hazel Park and I-94 in Harper Woods starting March 30th.  

The Kalamazoo St. Patrick's Day parade this Saturday is canceled. The Irish American Club of Kalamazoo canceled the parade after Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Two Blue Cross Blue Shield walk-in centers are closing in Grand Rapids due to the coronavirus. The health insurance company says it will be closing ten total customer walk-in centers across Michigan.

An Oakland County judge may become the first-ever Chaldean American to serve as a federal judge. President Trump has nominated Oakland County Circuit Court Judge Hala Jarbou to fill a vacancy.

Saginaw K-9 Deebo is back on the force. The K-9 Deebo Facebook page says all restrictions have been lifted. Deebo has been cleared for light training after being stabbed a month ago.

Willow Health Center, part of the Ingham Community Health Centers, will relocate, to a more central Lansing location Tuesday. Willow Health Center provides care to people ages 10-21.  

If you are a user of the driver assistance program through the Mackinac Bridge Authority, you may want to find a new way across the bridge. The authority announced on Twitter they will be suspending the program to help slow the spread of the coronavirus.