At Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) CEO Mike Manley told employees that FCA is in the process of converting its first plant to produce face masks for donation to first responders and health care workers. The first machinery has been delivered and installed with supply and donation coming on stream in the coming weeks.
FCA said publicly yesterday its plants across the U.S. and Canada, as well as headquarters operations and construction projects, are to remain closed only until 14 April, dependent upon the various states’ stay-in-place orders and the readiness of each facility to return to production. (FCA to Restart of North American Operations?) The UAW is apparently not pleased with the decision that threatens the health and safety of its members. (UAW Balks at Reopening Workplaces)
FCA is also expanding its program of measures to support coronavirus relief efforts, focused on two areas: charities providing food services to children and support for a range of technical, logistical and manufacturing programs, such as face mask production.
“There has never been a more important moment to help children and their families with vital needs in our communities than during this time of great uncertainty,” said Manley.
Food Programs for Children
FCA will work in partnership with non-profit organizations and foundations that are providing food to children until schools return to session. Starting immediately, FCA will help provide more than 1 million meals to school-age children in the communities around its principal manufacturing plants in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. The program will then be extended nationwide in the U.S. and to Canada and Mexico, supporting similar relief efforts for kids who would normally access school meal services.
Mobilizing Company Resources
Following the first actions taken to start face mask production, the company is now investing technical, logistical and manufacturing resources at medical equipment and personal protective equipment (PPE). With the donation of face masks produced by the company starting in the coming weeks, the company will invest to extend that production capacity to other plants and ultimately donate masks to first responders and health care workers across the world.
Drawing on experience from the company’s engineering and logistics team in Italy who are assisting a local ventilator manufacturer, FCA is engaged with other companies producing ventilators and other much needed medical equipment and PPE.