UAW reinstates mask mandate for workers at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis plants

Union workers at Ford, General Motors, and Stellantis must resume wearing masks while inside auto plants at all times, regardless of vaccination status, according to a UAW announcement Tuesday.

The rule reversal on masks will go into effect on Aug. 4.

The decision, made by the COVID-19 Joint Task Force, represents a major backtrack of pandemic progress in the workplace, months after mask and gathering limit guidelines were eased this spring.

The mask mandate was enacted after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated their health and safety recommendations following the spread of the delta variant. 

"The Task Force met and, after reviewing the recently changed CDC guidelines and community COVID-19 trends, decided it is best for worker safety to resume wearing masks in all worksites," read a release from the UAW.

"While we know that masks can be uncomfortable, the spread of the Delta variant and recent data outlining the alarmingly high rate of transmission among those unvaccinated is a serious health threat," it continued.

The auto sector was one of the first major industries to see its production reel back at the onset of the pandemic in 2020.