Stellantis to distribute vaccines to employees and family at Metro Detroit union halls

Breana Noble
The Detroit News
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Stellantis NV on Wednesday said it will begin administering COVID-19 vaccines at certain United Auto Workers union halls starting Friday to its employees and their families in Metro Detroit as the state leads the nation in adding new cases per capita.

The expansion in the transatlantic automaker's efforts to distribute vaccines now with pharmacy Rite Aid Corp. comes as increasing cases, according to Bloomberg citing unnamed sources, is even impacting some production at its Sterling Heights Assembly Plant, which builds its profit-rich Ram 1500 pickup trucks.

Mark Kreusel, plant manager at Stellantis NV's Belvidere Assembly Plant in Illinois, receives the COVID-19 vaccine at the company's health and wellness center there.

"We see cases of COVID consistent or mirroring that of those in the community where our employees live," said Brad Thompson, Stellantis' director of health care, disability and medical operations. "In Michigan, we've experienced an uptick just like in the state of Michigan, as an example, and in other locations, as well, like in Indiana and Ohio, our trend of cases is consistent with the communities where our employees live."

The automaker continues to have protocols in place at its plants, including requiring masks, temperature checks and symptom questionnaires and making tests available.

"Those are ongoing, and that ensures the safety of employees," Thompson said. "Providing access to vaccines is another avenue to keep employees healthy."

An appointment is required to get the vaccine from Rite Aid at the union halls. Information on how to register will be provided to Stellantis employees. They and their dependents will be able to obtain the Moderna Inc. vaccine at the following locations and times:

  • Warren Truck Assembly Plant Local 140 at 23345 Pinewood in Warren: Friday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Saturday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Thursday, May 6 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.; Friday, May 7 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.; and Saturday, May 8 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Sterling Stamping Plant Local 1264 at 7450 15 Mile Road in Sterling Heights: Wednesday, April 28 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Thursday, April 29 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
  • Jefferson North Assembly Plant Local 7 at 2600 Conner St. in Detroit: Friday, April 30 from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, May 1 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Stellantis employees in Belvidere, Illinois, where it assembles the Jeep Cherokee SUV, were among the first autoworkers in the nation in early February to begin receiving the vaccines when Stellantis began administering them through its health and wellness center there operated by SwedishAmerican Health System.

Since then, the automaker has expanded distribution to its other health and wellness centers in Kokomo, Indiana, and in Detroit, which is operated by Ascension Michigan, according to state orders.

At the end of March in Toledo, Ohio, Stellantis also worked with a local hospital to distribute vaccines at a union hall there with successful results, Thompson said. The automaker has distributed thousands of vaccines to its employees and their family members, not including employees who may have obtained the vaccines elsewhere. That also makes it difficult to track the total vaccinated population of the company's workforce.

“We continue to encourage our members to take advantage of efforts to be vaccinated and appreciate these efforts working with Stellantis on these vaccination sites in UAW Local Union Halls for our members," UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada said in a statement. "The UAW has been working with the Detroit 3 Task Force to encourage all members to get vaccinated while at the same time respecting and protecting our members’ personal beliefs.”

Stellantis' cross-functional teams also continue to work on engaging with state and local governments on vaccine eligibility and availability, on access channels and on communication to employees information about the vaccines and where they can go to get them.

Crosstown rivals General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co. also have made efforts to help its employees get the vaccine. Ford on Monday said it was launching on-site vaccinations with Rite Aid for hourly and salaried employees at its Flat Rock Assembly Plant, the Ernest Lofton Fitness Center at the Rouge complex in Dearborn, Van Dyke Transmission Plant in Sterling Heights and the Rawsonville Components Plant in Ypsilanti. It also was partnering with regional hospitals to do so in Lima, Ohio, and Kansas City, Missouri.

GM is working with public health officials to administer vaccines to employees and has offered on-site clinics at Factory Zero Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Center and in Lansing, Saginaw, and Spring Hill, Tennessee, with more to come.

Michigan on Wednesday surpassed 800,000 COVID-19 cases and more than 17,000 deaths since March 2020. It has led the nation in new infections and hospitalizations for two weeks. The state's 519 cases per 100,000 people is easily outpacing New Jersey at 292 cases per 100,000 people, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

"At the end of the day," Thompson said, "the best path forward and the best path to normality is to get vaccinated."

bnoble@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @BreanaCNoble

Staff writers Jordyn Grzelewski and Kalea Hall contributed.

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