FCA talks about response to worker sick with COVID-19, safe restart of plants

As Fiat Chrysler gets ready to resume production Monday, some employees say they are still worried that the automaker isn't doing enough to protect them from the coronavirus.

Today FOX 2 took those concerns right to Chief Operating Officer Mark Stewart of FCA North America to talk about those concerns and also about the effort to reopen. 

There is concern for FCA employees who are returning back to work after a team leader at the FCA Sterling Heights Assembly Plant says he's now home after pay after a co-worker tested positive for the coronavirus.

"In terms of the person who was identified, that person is quarantined at home with pay," Stewart said. "The folks that came into close contact with that individual - there are seven - are also at home with pay under self-quarantine. As we look to these multilayers that we have put in place, checking through those and we continue to enhance those procedures."

FOX 2: "Many have reached out to us saying that when they were waiting to get into their shift, they were standing way too close together in these lines. How are you addressing that?"

"That's something we're all going to have to watch, whether it's coming in and out of our factories, in the factories, when we're out at the grocery store as well, as just continuing reminding. Because it is in our nature that all of us get a little closer. So one of the things we've gotten, is distancing marshals, if you will, to make sure we're reminding folks. We have the placards on the floor throughout the factory and coming into the factory for the distancing. 

"It's up to every one of us. We have to hold ourselves accountable and each other accountable to make sure that we do that."

Stewart says they will assess each and every day and see how to move forward every few weeks, based on what they learn as the reentry happens. 

"We are starting on a one-shift basis. We will have learnings as we go through this. We'll start slower, making sure that we have all of our learning things in place so that we're collecting learnings," Stewart said. "Over a period of weeks we'll ramp back up to full production."

Extended breaks and lunch times are being added. FCA also is sending welcome packets to the workers' homes to check on COVID-19 conditions and there's an app for that.


"It includes temperature strips as well. Folks can check their temperature at home before they leave home within a couple hours of coming to work make sure their temp is in good shape. they're feeling okay," he said. "If not they would call in or they've got an app and a paper form that folks can use with a check list that we're following from World Health Organization and go through, to make sure we're checking the boxes there so people get a green check mark for that day."

There is also a 24 to 48-hour turnaround time for testing for employees. If someone tests positive they are preparing to triage. Monday is coming up and they're excited to be back to work but keeping health as a top priority.

Keep in mind FCA has been working also to fight COVID-19 in a huge effort. One million masks were made and distributed to the people who needed them most.