Unifor members at the Detroit Three and at many parts suppliers have returned to the production line with new health and safety measures in place.
“Unifor worked closely with auto companies to ensure protocols to protect workers from COVID-19 were implemented before the resumption of production,” said National President Jerry Dias. “The health of workers must remain the key priority as the auto sector restarts.”
This week, one shift returned to produce the Chevrolet Equinox at the General Motors CAMI Assembly plant in Ingersoll with a second shift scheduled to resume June 1. Full production at GM’s St. Catharines Propulsion Plant is also underway.
Ford also began the gradual return of workers to the Oakville Assembly Plant this week, with both shifts back by June 8. Production has resumed at the Ford Windsor Engine Plant (ANNEX) while the Essex Engine Plant will restart June 1.
Full production of the Chrysler 300, Dodge Challenger and Dodge Charger has commenced at the Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) Brampton plant, while two shifts are currently working at the Windsor Assembly Plant with a third slated to return June 1. The automaker will also bring a readiness crew next week at its Etobicoke Casting Plant (ECP) in anticipation of a June 8 start-up with one shift.
New post-pandemic safety protocols now require workers to perform a Daily Health Risk Assessment, to undergo temperature screening to prevent those who exhibit signs of a fever from entering the building, and to wear a face mask at all times in the facility.
The plants have increased availability of personal protective equipment, redesigned job and rest areas and created protocols to allow for more social distancing, and have implemented thorough daily cleaning schedules of which most include a new start-of-shift sanitation process for each workstation.
The auto manufacturers have also adjusted shift schedules to reduce employee interaction.
At the FCA Windsor plant six medical tents, six trailers and multiple thermal imaging temperature stations have been installed, with similar measures in place at other Detroit Three facilities. Meanwhile, GM will modify air ventilation at CAMI to increase the fresh air intake.
Heath and safety protocols have also been implemented in the independent parts supplier (IPS) plants. Over the past week, Unifor conducted two health and safety webinars for IPS Chairpersons to provide information and guidance on COVID-19 precautionary measures.
“We have and will continue to do everything we can to ensure a safe, secure and sanitized workplace for our members,” said Dias.