Ford and General Motors are recalling a slate of workers as the two auto giants prepare to reopen May 1 after locking up in March as governors and mayors instituted stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, reports show.
The call backs are voluntary and will include safety protocols as Ford and GM work to provide a safe atmosphere for workers who are worried about an uptick in coronavirus cases. The United Auto Workers Union is pushing back against any plan that includes bringing back workers before the coast is clear.
“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,” the UAW noted in a Friday press statement. The union went on to express support for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s decision Friday to extend the state’s stay at home order through May 15.
The Michigan Democrat’s decision comes as other states begin opening their doors. Republican Gov. Greg Abbott, for instance will let Texas’s stay-at-home order lapse after Thursday following a statewide lockdown to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. More than 600 people have died of the virus in the Lone Star State while Michigan saw its death toll reach 3,400.
Several UAW employees who tested positive for COVID-19 have died.
“No one knows when things are going to get back to the new normal,” GM CEO Mary Barra said in a statement Monday of the safety protocols, which include mandatory social distancing and temperature checks. “Others refer to it as the new abnormal.”
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