BusinessStacy M. Brown

General Motors Moves to Protect Workers, Offers Customers Special Financing

General Motors has joined two other automobile companies and the United Auto Workers in forming a special COVID-19/coronavirus task force to implement enhanced protections for manufacturing and warehouse employees.

The company and union are joined in the task force by Ford Motor Company and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles.

The joint task force’s areas of focus will include vehicle production plans, additional social distancing, break and cleaning schedules, health and safety education, health screening, food service and any other areas that have the potential to improve protections for employees.

UAW President Rory Gamble, GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra, Ford Executive Chairman Bill Ford, Ford President and CEO Jim Hackett and FCA CEO Michael Manley will lead the task force.

“Workplace health and safety is a priority for us every day, all three companies have been taking steps to keep the COVID-19/coronavirus out of their facilities and during this national emergency, we will do even more working together,” Gamble, who convened the leaders of all three companies, said in a press release.

“We are focused on doing the right thing for our people, their families, our communities and the country. All options related to protecting against exposure to the virus are on the table.”

As the joint task force identifies enhancements, each company, together with the UAW, will provide regular updates to the workers in their facilities.

“This is a fluid and unprecedented situation, and the task force will move quickly to build on the wide-ranging preventive measures we have put in place. We are all coming together to help keep our workforces safe and healthy,” the companies wrote in a joint statement.

GM, a longtime corporate partner of The National Newspaper Publishers Association (NNPA) and Black Press Week, also announced that it would offer customers 0 percent financing for seven years and four months deferred payments for those with excellent credit. Individuals with a lower credit rating could still qualify for the deferment, however, not the 0 percent financing, GM officials said.

“We wanted to reassure customers that we’re here for them and our dealers are here for them,” GM Spokesman Jim Cain told CNBC, adding that the offer is available through March 31. “We’ve never done this combination before.

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