GM, Ford, FCA shut down plants

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General Motors, Ford and Fiat Chrysler have announced they are shutting down their plants in North America.

In this Sept. 27, 2018, file photo a United Auto Workers assemblymen work on a 2018 Ford F-150 trucks being assembled at the Ford Rouge assembly plant in Dearborn, Mich. The United Auto Workers union wants Detroit's three automakers to shut down their factories for two weeks to keep its members safe from the spreading coronavirus. But union President Rory Gamble says in an email to members obtained by The Associated Press that the companies were not willing to shut factories down. (AP Photo/Carlos Osorio, File)

The announcement comes after several days of pressure from the UAW.

There's a big push by the unions to shut the Big Three down saying the safety of workers is the number one priority.

UAW representatives told News 10 they were informed by GM this afternoon there would be a systematic shutdown across North America, beginning as soon as Thursday, March 19.

GM announced their suspension would last until at least March 30 with production status being reevaluated week to week after that.

Some GM workers are not happy about the auto company taking so long to close down plants.

"There was some animosity in the plant, because of the fact we weren't shutting down in the midst of a health crisis. People weren't happy about it, but they were still going to work and building quality products until we got the word. Fortunately, they decided to do the right thing I think," UAW Local 602 Vice President Steve Delaney said.

However, in Delta Township, operations will continue until the last car being built leaves the plant.

Delaney said that it could be as late as next Friday.

"There's a lot of concern for the safety of the workers, that's what's causing the whole thing. This is all new territory, it's unprecedented, usually, there are guidelines for unemployment sub pay, this could fall under a whole different category you know a pandemic, rather than a shutdown or a decrease in sales, or something like that," Delaney said.

Delaney said the Delta Township plant was told to do what is called a "build-out" meaning workers are going to use all the parts in the plant and build as many cars as possible before closing.

One of the workers spoke with News 10 over the phone to explain why that decision makes him so upset.

"They put profits over their workers every time. They make these press releases and save face in the media saying we're doing this we're doing that. We didn't see any extra cleaning until two days ago in our plant. They didn't shorten our hours and keep contamination away from each shift and keep the shifts separate until yesterday. It's all about profit for them, always has been, always will be. On the line, we are just a number. That's all we are. Easily replaceable by a temp that makes half as much as a seniority employee," the Delta Township employee said.

Since GM said the closure of its plants is scheduled to last until March 30, that could mean the Delta plant is only closed for two or three days.

The UAW is working to get answers for employees who wonder if they'll be able to go on unemployment while the plants are closed.

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