New COVID-19 Cases Affect Automakers Reopening

June 17, 2020

Automakers are having to deal with absent factory workers and COVID-19 cases at their reopened plants.

June 17, 2020—Automakers are having to deal with absent U.S. factory workers and COVID-19 cases at their reopened plants, reports the Wall Street Journal.

According to the report, production output has been minimal with many plants not yet operating at full capacity. Absent workers, among other challenges, are requiring the automakers to adjust shifts and add on temporary workers. This is the case for Toyota, which said 40 U.S. plant workers have tested positive for the coronavirus since the company restarted operations in May. The report says it's unclear if these workers were infected with COVID-19 on the job or not.

Factory workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV and GM's pickup truck plant in Fort Wayne, Ind., also tested positive for the virus recently, with the companies responding with efforts to curb the spread and enforce safety measures.

The anxiety of contracting the disease has also caused production to slow. At Ford's truck plant in Louisville, Ky., around 15 percent—or 1,300—of the plant's nearly 8,600 workers miss work on an average day. For some, it's due to concerns over contracting the virus at the reopened plants, but most of the absences are due to virus-related issues, like the inability to get child care or living with people who have higher risk factors, according to the report.