Market Overview

Major US Automakers Plan To Return To Work May 18 With Enhanced Safety Measures In Place

Major US Automakers Plan To Return To Work May 18 With Enhanced Safety Measures In Place

Automakers such as General Motors (NYSE: GM), Ford Motor Company (NYSE: F), and Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA), are planning to reopen factories with enhanced safety precautions.

What Happened

General Motors workers in Flint, Saginaw, and Bay City, Michigan,  are likely to return to work next week.

Every GM employee will receive a “back-to-work” package containing five face masks delivered to their home, along with instructions for returning to work and a letter from CEO Mary Barra.

Most manufacturing plants are set to restart on May 18.

Rival automaker Ford is also resuming production on May 18, bringing 12,000 workers back to the factory floors. These workers are critical to production and work mainly in-vehicle testing and design.

The company’s parts depots will resume full operations on May 11. Ford has released a Manufacturing Return to Work Playbook to ensure the health and safety of its workers.

Underscoring that it is the last major carmaker in California, Tesla stated that it understands the impacts COVID-19 has caused, but the company has a “responsibility to look out for the livelihoods and safety of our personnel, many of whom rely on us and have been out of work for weeks due to the impacts of shelter-in-place orders.”

Tesla has modeled the restart plan on that of its Shanghai gigafactory and said it needs time to train employees through the video before they can work at any Tesla facility.

The automaker has also released a Return To Work Playbook that details the comprehensive safety measures it is undertaking.

Why It Matters

Large automakers in Michigan closed their factories last month in response to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Tesla only closed its factory in Fremont, California, after it was deemed a non-essential business by local county officials.

Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla, has threatened to move manufacturing out of California, as Alameda County officials have still not given the company the go-ahead to reopen its manufacturing facilities.

Musk also said Tesla is filing “a lawsuit against Alameda County immediately."


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