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General Motors—which hopes to make ventilators in Kokomo—and Ford Motor Co. are among automakers that are throwing their design and production prowess behind two other manufacturers’ efforts to build more ventilators and respirators for health care workers and first responders.
The United Auto Workers union has been pushing for factories to close because workers are fearful of coming into contact with the coronavirus.
The closures involve six plants in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, including the company’s Indiana plant in Greensburg.
Local officials have orders from the ruling Communist Party to get businesses functioning again while still enforcing anti-disease curbs that have shut down much of the world’s second-largest economy.
A United Auto Workers union member said the threat of parts shortages at GM facilities is growing, but the automaker doesn’t expect to have to pause production at plants in Indiana, Michigan and Texas, according to spokesman.
Ford needs to make the investment in new products in an effort to increase market share and prepare for a shift to new propulsion and autonomous vehicle technologies.
The ratification means the United Auto Workers union has settled with all three Detroit automakers. Fiat Chrysler has a workforce of 8,156 in Indiana at four plants in Kokomo and one plant in Tipton.
CEO Carlos Tavares, who used to run Nissan in the Americas and knows the U.S. market well, will not shy away from trimming unprofitable models and brands.
The deal is expected to give the merged firm enough scale to confront big shifts in the auto industry, including the race to develop electric cars and driverless technologies. And with 2,640 dealers across the U.S., Fiat Chrysler would have a ready distribution network for Peugeot’s lines of city-friendly cars, family sedans and SUVs.
The agreement likely will mirror the pact approved last week by General Motors workers after a 40-day strike.
General Motors, Fiat Chrysler, Toyota and many others in the auto industry are backing the Trump administration in a lawsuit over whether California has the right to set its own greenhouse gas emissions and fuel economy standards.
The deal, which includes modest improvements in pay for new employees and promises that the company will bring full-time temporary workers on permanently, passed this week after being voted on by GM’s 47,000 workers.
Some workers question why union leaders agreed to let General Motors close three factories, wondering if corruption inside the UAW influenced the decision to side with the company.
Details on the four-year pact were posted Thursday on the UAW website as factory level union officials met to decide if they’ll approve the deal. Workers went on strike Sept. 16, crippling the company’s U.S. production and costing it an estimated $2 billion.
The deal was hammered out after months of bargaining but won’t bring an immediate end to the strike by 49,000 hourly workers. They will likely stay on the picket lines for at least two more days as two union committees vote on the deal, after which the members will have to approve.
The appearance of two key executives is a strong sign that bargainers are closing in on a contract agreement that would end the strike, which began on Sept. 16.
With the strike by factory workers against General Motors in its 29th day, there are signs that negotiators may be moving toward an agreement.
Nearly four weeks into the United Auto Workers’ strike against General Motors, employees are starting to feel the pinch of going without their regular paychecks.
Both sides are hoping the strike doesn’t last much longer, but while bargaining continues, the top union negotiator says they’re far apart on major issues including wages, job security, health care and a path for temporary workers to become full-time.