Car companies have jumped in quickly to help combat coronavirus. They’re even beginning to manufacture some of the badly needed medical supplies, like ventilators and masks. However, with stay-at-home orders sweeping across the nation and folks practicing social distancing, automotive sales and manufacturing have quickly dried up in North America.
That leads us to today’s news coming out of FCA. A company spokesperson told us that approximately 2,000 supplemental workers (a subcategory of the company’s many contract workers) are being laid off. Here’s the official statement from FCA:
“In light of the challenges created by the COVID 19 situation, and the various ‘stay at home’ orders from multiple states, a number of development projects within FCA have been temporarily put on hold.
"As a result of this, subcontract companies who were providing external support to a number of these projects have been asked to temporarily suspend their activities as we reprioritize certain initiatives and projects. We will continue to monitor the situation with the intent to return to normal activity as soon as the situation allows.”
FCA made it clear in our communications with the company that it is not terminating all contract workers, nor is it terminating any employees of the company itself. The rationale here is that certain development work is on pause, so those who were contracted to be a part of that work are now out. We're told that those workers are in white-collar functions, not manufacturing jobs. We asked FCA if it had plans to reinstate all of the affected workers once the coronavirus crisis has passed, but received no commitment either way.
“At this point we’re going to continue to monitor the situation,” a company spokesperson told us.
Questions still remain when it comes to the stimulus package moving through Congress right now as it pertains to the automotive industry. FCA says it’s currently studying the bill, but hasn’t offered up a comment on the situation yet. We haven’t heard of any similar cuts happening at Ford or GM yet, but now that FCA has made a move, we’ll be on the lookout for more.