STERLING HTS, Mich. - An autoworker employed at Fiat-Chrysler's Sterling Heights Assembly plant has tested positive for coronavirus, the company says.
Confirmed in a statement, FCA said a plant worker who had not been in the building for over a week was diagnosed with the virus, making them the second auto worker to test positive.
The announcement was made while FCA was in talks with the United Auto Workers Union, which is pressing for them, as well as General Motors and Ford to close its American plants amid concerns COVID-19 could infect more of its workers.
While no details about the employee's travel history were released, they are receiving medical care and their working area has also been deep-cleaned and disinfected.
While most auto employees have been sent home following increased pressure from public officials to reduce contact between residents, plant workers have not received the same message. Just today, GM confirmed an employee from the Cole Engineering Center in Warren had tested positive for COVD-19.
Long before that last week, the first UAW employee tested positive - a case stemming from an Indiana plant about 250 miles southwest of Detroit.
To combat the growing outbreak of coronavirus, the big three auto companies promised to enhance protections for workers who are still going to the plant every day.
That included implementing the following cleaning safety:
- Separating working shifts by a minimum of a one-hour at most U.S. assembly plants.
- Staggering breaks and lunches to increase the distance between people.
- Arranging seating in the cafeterias and break areas to guarantee proper distance.
- Increasing housekeeping services in cafeterias, bathrooms, and other high traffic, high use areas, including frequent touch points.
- Providing materials - spray bottles with disinfectant, rags and gloves - to employees to conduct cleaning and disinfecting protocols at the start and end of each shift.
- Offering gloves in certain areas.
- Conducting safety talks and specific training as well as using signage and broadcasts through Andon boards to remind employees of proper preventative protocols
- Installing partitions between workstations at some powertrain facilities.
- Restricting domestic and international travel.
- Restricting visitors at all FCA facilities.
However, with fears mounting, the UAW is asking all Ford, GM, and FCA to close its plants. The four groups planned to meet at 6 p.m. to discuss safety measures.