Unifor, Detroit automakers agree on COVID-19 strategy

Photo of the Windsor Assembly Plant, September 4 2017. (Photo by Adelle Loiselle)

Unifor is joining forces with the Canadian operations of Detroit’s Big Three to develop coronavirus protection strategies for autoworkers.

General Motors, Ford, and Fiat-Chrysler Automobiles will work with the union to create additional safeguards for employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. This arrangement is similar to one between the automakers and the United Auto Workers (UAW) in the U.S.

In a joint statement by the Canadian subsidiaries of the automakers and Unifor, additional protection is actively being considered.

“Preventative actions currently under review at the three companies’ Canadian auto facilities include visitor screening, increased cleaning and sanitizing of common areas and touchpoints, safety protocols for people with potential exposure and those who exhibit flu-like symptoms,”┬áread the statement.

Members of the task force include Unifor National President Jerry Dias, Ford Canada President and CEO Dean Stoneley, FCA Canada President and CEO David Buckingham, and GM Canada President and Managing Director Scott Bell.

The agreement was made in response to growing concern among workers about safety on the job amid the pandemic. Last week, some employees at the FCA Windsor Assembly Plant refused to work after it was learned that the spouse of an employee was being tested for COVID-19.

According to Crain’s Automotive News Canada, Unifor had called for a two-week shutdown of the GM CAMI plant in Ingersoll over coronavirus concerns.