Workers stop production at Jefferson North in Detroit over COVID-19 concerns

Breana Noble
The Detroit News

Workers at Fiat Chrysler Automobiles' Jefferson North Assembly plant in Detroit have stopped production over concerns related to COVID-19.

An employee on Thursday was sent home at the plant, and the work stoppage began that afternoon, Fiat Chrysler spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said. But COVID-19 test results for the employee on Friday came back negative, and there remain no confirmed cases of the virus at the east-side plant that makes the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Dodge Durango SUVs.

The United Auto Workers has a team on-site working with members to ensure safety protocols are being followed, union spokesman Brian Rothenberg said.

A video posted to Twitter in the late morning on Friday showed employees standing in the plant in a line, showing solidarity behind blue face masks.

The automakers have implemented measures with input from the union to address the virus. They include additional cleaning and requiring a health-screening questionnaire, temperature checks and masks and other personal protective equipment since they began reopening their plants in May after a two-month shutdown.

"The health and safety of our workforce has continued to be our top priority since our plants resumed production in May," Tinson said in a statement. "The Company has implemented a comprehensive, multi-layered program of enhanced safety measures designed to safeguard our employees."

She added that the company is working with the UAW "to address all workplace concerns in order to resume operations."

Noted Rothenberg: "We have a team of folks that are in that are working with the members in JNAP to make sure the safety protocols are being followed and any and all of their safety concerns are addressed. Our first priority is the health and safety of their families and the communities."

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble