My sisters and brothers,
I want to start today by thanking my UAW family for supporting one another during this crisis. I have been so impressed to see how our members are pulling together and supporting one another as we navigate this unprecedented situation.
It is with great sadness that I must report that we have lost more of our UAW family in the past few days. Over the weekend, an FCA worker at Warren Truck Assembly Plant and a member at Mopar in Centerline, Michigan passed away from the virus. We also lost a member of the President’s Staff Sunday night, although at this time, we do not know the cause of death. And, yesterday, a Ford worker from Local 600 Dearborn Diversified fell to this virus.
On behalf of the President’s Office and the entire International Executive Board, we extend our deepest sympathies and support to the families and friends of these UAW members.
I would like to share some positive updates. After weekend discussions, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has agreed to allow UAW members to stay at home unless they volunteer to work at time and a half pay. Both parties agreed to adjustments in how personal time is used and accrued and that members who choose to do so can use unpaid leave without repercussion. In addition, the UAW was able to secure agreements on the continuation of benefits and changes in reduction in workforce language that will allow for unemployment during the time of the Michigan Governor’s Stay-at-Home order.
Additionally, Case New Holland Industrial has announced downtime for March 31 –
April 12 (return on April 13) with the exceptions of Racine, Wisconsin, where 149 of 447 will work; and Burlington, Iowa, where 18 out of 320 employees will continue working.
Ford Motor Company has stated that they have decided to keep the plants shut down for a longer period than was announced last week. No specific return date has been determined. We will keep you informed.
I want to recognize members of our UAW family who are lending their time and their labor to help stem the devastation of this virus. Ford Motor Company and General Motors, are collaborating with the UAW to begin making ventilators, masks and protective gear. Ford announced their program at the Rawsonville location making respirators. Volunteer paid employees will be making the much needed equipment. We are working very closely with Ford and GM to make sure that all Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines are followed and that we are exercising an abundance of caution inside the plant. I want to commend Ford, GM and our brave UAW members for this critical work. I know that many of our members are stepping to make masks, help and support friends and family and I want to recognize those efforts as well.
I will report back on our ongoing communications and new developments with companies across the nation and our work in Washington, D.C., to ensure that our elected officials are supporting measures to help the hard working men and women of this nation.
On an unrelated note, we formally rolled out the Ethics Reforms today with the appointment of our Ethics Officer, Ombudsman and activation of the Ethics Hotline. As I stated earlier this year, we are committed to doing everything in our power to safeguard this union and ensure that the violations of the past can never happen again. Details here: https://uaw.org/ethics/.
Again I want to urge us all to stay safe, support one another and adhere to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines during this extraordinary time, https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-nCoV.
Please watch for updates and submit questions that you may have about your worksite at UAW (https://uaw.org/coronavirus/). On behalf of myself and the entire International Executive Board, please know that we are fighting every day for our UAW family. We are all in this together.
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