The Spark

“The emancipation of the working class will only be achieved by the working class itself.” — Karl Marx

FCA Workers Stop Production in Metro Detroit

Jun 29, 2020

At three Fiat Chrysler Metro Detroit plants, workers stopped production in late June.

On Thursday, June 25, a worker was sent home on suspicion of having COVID-19 at the Fiat Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant (JNAP) in Detroit. A work stoppage began soon after at the factory. A video posted to Twitter and WDIV Television on the following day, Friday, showed workers wearing face masks and standing together in solidarity—not working.

One week before this, on Thursday, June 18, word of a Warren Truck Assembly Plant (WTAP) worker testing positive for COVID-19 was spread—worker to worker—to protect the health and safety of coworkers.

Understanding there was a possible new case of COVID-19, on Friday, June 19th, about 245 workers on the afternoon shift at WTAP — feeling sick, tired and disrespected — called in. Similar numbers called in sick, tired and disrespected on Saturday, too!

Simultaneously, at a sister plant—Sterling Heights Assembly Plant (SHAP)—the call-outs for Friday, June 19th were 1,048 and for Saturday, June 20th were 1,306! The call-outs stopped most production at both factories.

During the COVID-19 outbreaks of March and April, workers at FCA facilities in Metro Detroit suffered the blows of 15 coworker deaths to COVID-19. Going through that horrendous experience has increased workers’ consciousness that there is a life-and-death necessity to rely on each other for health and safety.

An aspect of last week’s call-outs was the Juneteenth Holiday celebrating the emancipation of those who had labored under slavery. The FCA company had put on a show for the media. They said they would stop the line for 8 minutes and 46 seconds to honor the George Floyd Movement.

But seeing the need for a real holiday to celebrate the movement, FCA workers at WTAP and SHAP created their own. A new holiday weekend honoring the George Floyd Movement was created by WTAP and SHAP workers staying home on June 19th and 20th!