FCA Transport worker dies of COVID-19

Fiat Chrysler Automobiles has lost another worker to COVID-19, the UAW said Thursday.

The death of a man employed at FCA Transport in Sterling Heights, Mich., marks the fourth of an FCA union worker linked to the new coronavirus.

“As this crisis continues, each day we get news of another brother or sister who has fallen to this terrible virus,” UAW President Rory Gamble said in a statement.

One of the employees worked at FCA’s Ram pickup factory in Sterling Heights, Mich. Another was employed at a plant in Kokomo, Ind. In addition, a worker at FCA’s Warren Truck Assembly Plant near Detroit died Wednesday. The UAW has attributed all of the deaths to the virus in several public statements by Gamble.

The automaker on Sunday said it was postponing work associated with test laboratories and pilot plants at its Auburn Hills, Mich., headquarters after a non-union technical support worker there died following a positive test, two Detroit newspapers reported.

News of the latest death comes hours after FCA said plants across the U.S. and Canada, as well as its Detroit area headquarters operations and construction projects, will stay closed until April 14, “dependent upon the various state stay-in-place orders and the readiness of each facility to return to production.”

“The Mopar Parts Distribution Centers, which have been deemed essential to keeping first responders and commercial vehicles on the road, will continue to operate with paid volunteers,” the company said in a statement. “The status of production at FCA’s Mexican operations will be subject to a separate announcement.”

FCA said it continues to work with the UAW and Canada’s Unifor union to “expand upon the extensive program of cleaning and social distancing protocols that already have been implemented across all of our facilities to safeguard our employees.”