As the auto industry struggles with production shutdowns and some jump in the fight to provide potentially life-saving medical equipment to the United States’ overburdened healthcare system, new reports have emerged that two Fiat Chrysler assembly plant workers tragically lost their bout with coronavirus. The news comes after another FCA employee in Auburn Hills died earlier this week, prompting the company to send people there home in the interest of protecting their health and safety.
United Auto Workers (UAW) union president Rory Gamble released a statement last night on the situation:
According to that statement, one of the two that lost their lives worked at the Ram assembly plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan. The other worked at the company’s Kokomo Transmission Plant in Indiana. Both plants had employees who tested positive earlier this month, though it’s not clear whether these are the same employees who perished from COVID-19.
For its part, Fiat Chrysler told Automotive News it wouldn’t share the identity of the workers for privacy reasons. At the moment, FCA suspended all ordinary production through at least March 30, though Michigan governor Gretchen Whitmer ordered plants in the state not to reopen on that date, an order with which FCA intends to comply.
Gamble said in the UAW’s statement, “I want to extend sincere sympathies from myself and the entire International Executive Board for the families of two of our members, one at FCA Kokomo, IN, and one at FCA Sterling Heights, MI, who have lost their lives to this virus. This is a terrible tragedy for our entire UAW family.”
According to Michigan.gov, the state currently has 1,791 active coronavirus cases, with 24 confirmed deaths by healthcare providers, coroners and local health departments.
Editor’s Note: As we continue to grapple with the effects of COVID-19, it’s imperative for everyone’s safety to follow health guidelines, including social distancing, to prevent further rapid spread of the virus. We extend our condolences to those who have lost loved ones in the wake of this pandemic, and we want to wish you all continued health and safety in the coming weeks.