Detroit Extends Covid Vaccine Eligibility to Auto Staff
Chrysler Jefferson North Assembly Plant in Detroit, Michigan
Bill Pugliano | Getty Images
DETROIT – production workers in the city, such as B. Auto workers, can now receive the Covid-19 vaccine without restrictions such as age or proof of pre-existing conditions.
The expanded manufacturing worker eligibility in Detroit represents a significant expansion of the eligibility of auto workers to vaccinate after municipalities such as Boone County, Illinois adopted similar measures. It should help to ensure the safety of employees and to put the car systems into operation.
The United Auto Workers Union estimates that at least 10,000 of its members work in Detroit. A total number of the manufacturing workers living in the city were not immediately available.
Detroit’s rollout of the two-dose vaccines Moderna and Pfizer will be carried out in a conference center and clinics for key manufacturing operations, starting with two SUV plants for Stellantis, formerly Fiat Chrysler. Production workers who live or work in the city are eligible, Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan announced Tuesday.
“The auto companies and the UAW have done a great job so far, but nothing is as good as a vaccination,” Duggan said during a press conference at which UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada received a vaccination.
Detroit automakers put extensive safety measures and social distancing guidelines in place during a two-month shutdown of their plants last year to help reduce the spread of Covid-19. Security measures implemented included plastic barriers, masks and other things like temperature controls and logs when entering and exiting the facilities.
“Manufacturing workers, whether they are unions or not, have really been there during this whole pandemic and it has not been easy,” Estrada said. “We’ve had diseases in our plants and deaths, so that’s incredibly important.”
According to union spokesman Brian Rothenberg, fewer than 30 of the approximately 400,000 members of the UAW have died of Covid-19. He said the union was “working with the White House, governors and all of our partners on vaccine distribution plans.”
Stellantis employees in Boone County, Illinois were among the first auto workers to receive Covid-19 vaccinations. The company looks forward to “working with other health departments to provide vaccines to the rest of Stellantis employees according to local sales plans.”
“Today’s announcement is an important step in protecting our employees and our communities so that we can return to the life we all want to live,” Stellantis said in a statement.
The Stellantis facility in Detroit, including a new facility that is not yet fully operational, is one of the largest manufacturing operations in the city. The company expects to have 8,000 people vaccinated initially.
General Motors also has a large plant in the city, but that plant will temporarily not produce vehicles until later this year due to construction.
Detroit has given 90,170 doses – 70.7% of the doses it received – and more than 52,800 appointments are scheduled, according to its website.
UAW Vice President Cindy Estrada will receive a Covid-19 shot during a press conference with Detroit Mayor Mike Duggan on March 2, 2021.