General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles have joined together with the United Auto Workers union to create a specific task force to meet the unique challenges of the novel , which causes . The three automakers and the union issued an announcement on Sunday declaring all four parties will work together and take on measures to protect workers and identify potential COVID-19 cases.
"This is a fluid and unprecedented situation, and the task force will move quickly to build on the wide-ranging preventive measures we have put in place," all three automakers said in a combined statement. "We are all coming together to help keep our workforces safe and healthy."
A GM representative told Roadshow the automaker will adjust production schedules and cut overtime hours to make time for additional cleaning and enhanced disinfecting procedures. The situation will vary by facility; the representative noted some plants have run at maximum overtime for months now. Overall, the automaker doesn't expect a "major" impact to production at the moment with these new processes.
FCA didn't specifically speak to production adjustments and told Roadshow, "We'll communicate additional details as they become available." Ford did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
All automakers agreed to work on ways to enhance social distancing while workers go about their job and each will implement health and safety education as well as screenings. GM also specifically noted it will offer COVID-19 lab testing and treatment plans. Further, the automaker will work with its GM Medical unit to isolate suspected cases "when necessary." Workers will also find disinfecting cloths to clean hand tools and work surfaces.
The coronavirus has already caused a magnitude of social disruption across the US. Major sports leagues canceled tournaments, theme parks have closed their doors until further notice and President Trump most recently issued a to help mitigate the virus' spread.