Over the past week, UAW workers have been pressuring the big three to close plants nationwide.
Now, with confirmed COVID-19 cases in two Metro Detroit plants, that pressure has reportedly reached its boiling point.
The Detroit Free Press and ABC News are now reporting that sources who have been briefed on the matter are saying that General Motors, Ford, and Fiat Chrysler will all announce the closure of all manufacturing plants nationwide later today.
The sources wish to remain anonymous at this time, as the closures have not been formally announced.
The decision reverses a deal worked out late Tuesday that would have allowed automakers cancel some shifts to cleanse equipment and buildings, but keep factories open. But fearful workers were still pressuring the union to seek full closures.
Under an agreement reached with the union, companies will monitor the situation weekly to decide if the plants can reopen, according to one of the sources.
The move will put work on hold for approximately 150,000 auto workers. They likely will receive supplemental pay in addition to state unemployment benefits. The two checks combined will be close to what the workers normally make.
This is a developing story, but we will update this page as more details emerge.
UPDATE 3/18/20 1:53 PM:
Ford has become the first of the big three to make this announcement.
With the closures now official, UAW President Rory Gamble has also issued a statement:
“By taking a shutdown and working through next steps, we protect UAW members, their families and the community. We have time to review best practices when the plants reopen, and we prevent the possible spread of this pandemic. We commend Ford for working with us and taking this bold step.”