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GM, Ford, Chrysler to temporarily suspend operations

Suspension will last until March 30
General Motors is recalling more than 640,000 pickups because their seat belts can cause fires
Posted at 6:43 PM, Mar 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-18 21:10:21-04

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — The big three automakers are shutting down factories across the country to protect workers while the country deals with COVID-19.

It's welcome news for many members of the local United Auto Workers Union, who say they didn't feel safe going to work.

"Everyone in there is a bit paranoid, myself as well," said local 774 President JR Baker.

Baker is the President of Local 774. He says employees have been worried and scared regarding the close quarters they work in. Many work on the line, on the same autoparts and feat with the spread of the virus it could be anywhere.

"We don't know what we have going on," he said.

One person spoke with 7 Eyewitness News over the phone and said, "There's no reason. If you can't eat a dinner within six feet of someone, why can I work three feet away from another employee?"

Another Ford employee writes, "Precaution is absolutely needed. It should have been done weeks ago."

General Motors says it will "begin a systematic orderly suspension of manufacturing operations in North America."

It says it will "deep clean facilities and continue to protect people."

GM says the suspension will last until at least March 30. When exactly it starts is still unclear. Auto workers are to report to work until they are told anything differently.