Situation critical as COVID-19 spreads through US auto plants – WSWS

The World Socialist Web Site Autoworker Newsletter is receiving hourly reports of new COVID-19 cases at auto plants in the Midwest, as it becomes ever more apparent that the pandemic is spreading out of control.

At the Ford Ohio Assembly Plant (OAP) in Avon Lake, west of Cleveland, text messages from UAW Local 2000 officials indicate that there have been more than 27 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the last seven days. Management has brought in contingents of temporary workers to be ready to fill in on the assembly line to replace workers who get sick so that production can continue uninterrupted.

UAW Local 2000 Bulletin
Local 2000 text updates

Workers also report outbreaks at Fiat Chrysler Sterling Heights Assembly, Sterling Stamping and Warren Truck in the Detroit area, as well as the FCA Tipton transmission plant in Indiana. Workers report a surge of cases at auto parts maker Faurecia in Columbus, Indiana.

Management, in collusion with the UAW, is attempting to cover up new cases in the plants, making it impossible for workers to know if they were in contact with infected individuals.

New COVID-19 cases in the US are at record levels, more than 150,000 daily, and deaths are rising. Midwest states such as Indiana, Michigan and Ohio, centers of auto production, are being hard hit, with record numbers of new cases and hospitals nearing capacity.

Local 2000 text updates
Local 2000 text updates

This makes it even more urgent for workers to join and help build the network of rank-and-file safety committees established to enforce safe conditions and save lives. In the present situation, this means fighting for the shutdown of auto and all non-essential production, as well as schools, until the virus is contained. Workers off due to the emergency must be guaranteed full pay funded by the massive profits of the auto giants.

Local 2000 text updates

A worker from Warren Truck wrote to the Autoworker Newsletter Wednesday, “Two people at Warren Truck, door line with COVID as of today.”

“I heard from SHAP (Sterling Heights Assembly), [a] girl told the union she didn’t want to have the other people she was around to have to miss work, so they told her not to name names to medical.”

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