UAW Says Early May 'Too Soon, Too Risky' To Reopen Auto Plants


(WWJ) The president of the United Auto Workers union says U.S. auto plants stalled amid the pandemic should not reopen early next month. 

In a statement, Rory Gamble said the union doesn't believe the scientific data is conclusive that it is safe to send autoworkers back into factories, and there hasn't been enough testing yet to fully understand the threat to workers from COVID-19.

Union leaders do say they are happy with automakers' response and cooperation on health and safety protocols. 

More than two dozen auto workers have died from COVID-19.

The following is the complete statement from Gamble, released Thursday:

"At this point in time, the UAW does not believe the scientific data is conclusive that it is safe to have our members back in the workplace. We have not done enough testing to really understand the threat our members face. We want to make sure the scientific data is supportive and every possible health protocols and enhanced protections are in place before UAW members walk into the workplace.

"We are in support of Governor Whitmer extending the Stay at Home order. We strongly suggest to our companies in all sectors that an early May date is too soon and too risky to our members, their families and their communities.

"That said we are happy with the auto companies’ response and cooperation on working through the health and safety protocols we will need in the workplace when it is appropriate to restart."

As for when the Big 3 Detroit automakers do plan to get operations rolling again, WWJ Auto Beat Reporter said: "Early May has been thought of a a possible target date, but only Fiat Chrysler has mentioned that date public."

This update comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says it's likely she will need to extend her stay-home executive order. However, she said it may be time to loosen some restrictions, with more details to be announced this Friday.

Ford, FCA and General Motors shut down all of their U.S. factories in mid-March