The novel coronavirus outbreak is starting to take a heavy toll on the U.S. car industry as the first auto plant workers have lost the battle with the COVID-19 disease.
Both assembly plant workers were employed by Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA), which has already lost another employee at its Auburn Hills headquarters in Michigan earlier this week. The two new COVID-19 fatalities were confirmed on Tuesday by a UAW spokesperson.
The representative said one of them worked at FCA’s Ram pickup plant in Sterling Heights, Michigan, while the other was employed at a plant in Kokomo, Indiana. It is unclear when the workers died and whether they are the same employees that tested positive earlier this month at the Sterling Heights Assembly Plant and the Kokomo Transmission plant.
An update from UAW President Rory Gamble https://t.co/FaGvYLTOQH
— UAW (@UAW) March 25, 2020
“I want to extend sincere sympathies from myself and the entire International Executive Board for the families of two of our members, one at FCA Kokomo, IN, and one at FCA Sterling Heights, MI, who have lost their lives to this virus. This is a terrible tragedy for our entire UAW family”, UAW President Rory Gamble said in a statement. “This is a terrible tragedy for our entire UAW family”, he added.
As for FCA, a company spokeswoman told Autonews the company couldn’t share information for privacy reasons. Fiat Chrysler Automobiles closed all of its North American assembly plants last week through March 30. According to UAW, FCA intends to comply with Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer’s order and not reopen its plants on March 30.