Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) has announced that it has sent home a worker from the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP) who tested positive for COVID-19 (or Coronavirus), just days before the plant is scheduled to restart production. Several Detroit news organizations broke the news on Thursday, stating that two employees had been sent home from the SHAP plant, which is the home for the company’s most successful vehicle, the 2020 Ram 1500.
Since then, FCA has officially announced that it was just one employee who was sent home. 5thGenRams has obtained a letter from FCA to its staff addressing the situation…
As we progressively restart our operations around the world, we are rigorously deploying the safety protocols, developed in conjunction with our Unions, to protect all of our employees.
These protocols are multi-layered to ensure that appropriate protection is in place throughout our facilities.
The reason we have developed multi-layered protection is because we want to provide an environment that is protected by two key safety protocols. The first is to prevent, where possible, anyone who is infected with COVID-19 from entering our facilities, and because this can not always be guaranteed, the second and most important protocol is to ensure the personal protection of each of our colleagues when they are working in one of our facilities.
For example, today we had an instance where one of our colleagues at our Sterling Heights Assembly plants was tested positive for COVID-19. I am pleased to say that our protocols worked as envisaged. The person was isolated and quarantined, more importantly, our social distancing and personal protection equipment protocols were in full use. Face masks and safety glasses which are now mandatory in our plants, and are issued as people enter, were being worn and this along with the newly installed protective barriers between certain stations on our assembly line illustrated the depth and professionalism of the planning that has been put in place to prepare for the opening of our plants and the protection of our people.
We were also able, as a result of our review of the protocols and how they worked, to strengthen the criteria for entering a facility.
This is a great opportunity for me to remind you to study in detail the Return to Work information that has been sent to you. Our protocols are designed to provide safety measures at multiple points and on multiple levels. In the case of our colleague at Sterling Heights, her co-workers at the plant were protected by the face masks and eyeglasses we provide each day, protected by the measures created to enforce social distancing and protected by the deep cleaning and sanitization of workstations.
Be it at the grocery store, the gas station, or at work, we know that COVID-19 is something we should constantly be aware of. As we restart our business, we know that the complete implementation of our safety protocols is the most effective way we can create a safe and secure working environment. It is also important to make sure we all take equally sensible precautions outside of work.
While none of us want to see anyone impacted by COVID-19, if and when we have colleagues affected, we have the layers of safety protocols designed to protect us all.
I would like to thank everyone who has worked so hard to ensure our manufacturing facilities are ready to return to production next week but most importantly, with the health and safety of our employees uppermost in mind.
The SHAP plant was among the first to shut down its operations, as the pandemic started in the Metro Detroit area. It was also was one of the hardest-hit FCA facilities due to COVID-19 related deaths from the pandemic.
This week, FCA released details about the changes in its protocols to keep its manufacturing workforce safe as they transition back into the normal work roles. Most of the changes have been implemented at FCA facilities in Europe and China, with great success.
There has been a backlash from United Auto Worker (UAW) members towards its union leaders, as they have called for testing for all employees at Detroit’s “Big-Three” automaker’s manufacturing facilities. This comes after top UAW leaders were tested for COVID-19 prior to return to work inside a union office located in Southfield, Michigan, which caused a stir on social media. This comes as former UAW President Gary Jones was arraigned on embezzlement charges earlier today, leading many to question the UAW leadership with its members.
There have been some concerns from the UAW employees about the return to the workplace, as they prepare to not have the same results that certain meatpacking plants around the country have had. About 150,000 autoworkers will be returning to work on Monday, May 18th in Michigan and other states with automotive manufacturing plants.