Fiat Chrysler Says It Will Begin Reopening Plants May 4

WWJ News
April 06, 2020 - 6:52 pm

(WWJ) Fiat Chrysler says it wants to restart its factories next month. 

WWJ Auto Beat Reporter Jeff Gilbert said Monday that FCA plans to progressively reopen its U.S. and Canadian plants beginning May 4.

"That would mean things would gradually go back online; not like a big switch is thrown and plants are running again," Gilbert reported, noting that we've seen some of these tentative restart dates subject to change in the past. 

"Most likely some plants will be targeted to start before others, based on the products they make," Gilbert added.

The auto company said it's been working on plans to better protect workers.

“During this current production pause, we are working with government officials and our unions to implement new procedures to certify the daily wellness of our workforce while also redesigning work stations to maintain proper social distancing and expanding the already extensive cleaning protocols at all locations. As a result of these actions, we will only restart operations with safe, secure and sanitized workplaces to protect all of our employees,” FCA spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said in a statement.  

This comes after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, a Democrat, said Monday morning she hopes to she extend the State of Emergency and her "Stay Home, Stay Safe" executive order. However, legislative action would be needed, and some on the Republican side have voiced concerns about the economy.

All three Detroit automakers suspended production at U.S. factories in mid-March under pressure from the United Auto Workers union, which had concerns about worker safety.

When asked to comment on FCA's restart plan, a spokesman for the UAW pointed reporters to President Rory Gamble’s prior statements that the safety of union members should take precedence over other considerations in restarting production. 

General Motors and Ford Motor Co. have not yet announced restart date for their U.S. facilities. 

Whitmer said state health officials predict the virus wil peak in Michigan at the end of April or early May.