Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, Ford, General Motors and Fiat Chrysler are suspending production at their North American plants at least through March 30, to help slow the spread of the virus.
The United Auto Workers, the autoworkers union, had been lobbying for a two-week shutdown because of worker safety concerns. After talks, the Big Three carmakers initially announced rotating partial shutdowns and deep cleanings at their plants. Those partial measures were in place for less than 24 hours before the closure announcements went out.
Fiat Chrysler and GM will begin shutting down Wednesday, while Ford will suspend Thursday evening. UAW workers will receive unemployment and supplemental pay, as negotiated under their contract, during the shutdown. Honda is also shutting down production at its North American facilities beginning next week, and will pay employees during the closure.
Meanwhile, electric automaker Tesla has been ordered by local authorities to suspend production at its Fremont, plant in Northern California. It’s not clear if the company will comply.