General Motors, Ford and FCA (Fiat Chrysler Automobiles) are aiming to start reopening their U.S. production plants on May 18, according to a report by the Wall Street Journal. Assembly plants in North America have been sitting idle due to the coronavirus outbreak since mid-March.
In recent days, the heads of the Big Three manufacturers have agreed on May 18 as the provisional re-start date after talks with the leaders of the UAW (United Auto Workers) union and with representatives for Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, according to the Journal, which cited sources privy to the discussions.
The head of the UAW warned last week that reopening the assembly plants and the state economy in general so quickly was “too soon and too risky”, and decried the high level of risk for workers.
The Wall Street Journal further notes that automakers are still working with the union to come up with safety protocols to reduce that level of risk, but there’s no hard and fast agreement on what measures will be needed.
Safe to say we’ll be hearing more in the coming days about each company’s plans as that May 18th target date approaches. The progress of the coronavirus will have a lot to say about those plans, to be sure.