DETROIT -- The Detroit 3 automakers and the UAW are in talks about safely restarting U.S. production halted by the coronavirus pandemic, but local union leaders said on Monday any workers who feel sick must be allowed to self quarantine without losing pay.
So far, neither the union nor the automakers have announced a deal. But the automakers all are aiming to restart at least some U.S. assembly plants in early May. Virtually all U.S. automotive production ground to a halt in March as the number of COVID-19 infections grew rapidly.
The safety practices and sick leave policies the automakers and the UAW negotiate would offer a template for auto suppliers and potentially other manufacturing industries.
UAW President Rory Gamble wrote on Friday the union has made it clear to the car companies that adequate testing for COVID-19 is key to restarting production and "we must create an environment where workers are comfortable to self-report symptoms and self-quarantine, without penalty."
In another statement released Monday, he said: "I have said for some time that the only litmus test in reopening the economy is whether you would send your son or daughter into the workplace. To do that requires a science-based nonpartisan approach to worker safety.
"UAW members are more than happy to return to the workplace under safe, monitored and healthy working conditions. Testing, CDC guidelines and flattening the pandemic curve saves lives.”