UAW: Workers will continue to wear masks in auto plants

Union says the mask mandate will continue until OSHA revises its guidance for workplaces
Updated: May. 19, 2021 at 7:52 PM EDT
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DETROIT, Mich. (WJRT) - The United Auto Workers union is keeping its mask mandate in place for now, according to a release sent out by the union on Wednesday.

The UAW says the COVID-19 Joint Task Force comprised of union officials and representatives from the Detroit Three automakers decided to continue the mask mandate for manufacturing workers until Occupational Safety and Health Administration guidelines change.

OSHA has not released new recommendations on face coverings in the workplace since the Centers for Disease Control relaxed its guidance on masks last week. The CDC now is saying people fully vaccinated for COVID-19 don’t need a mask outdoors or in most indoor settings.

Automakers also want to continue following all health regulations that apply to facilities they operate across the country.

“The COVID-19 Task Force met and after reviewing the CDC guidelines and OSHA standards, decided it is best for worker safety to wait for expected updated OSHA workplace standards and consult health experts to maintain safety and uniformity as we transition through the pandemic,” the UAW statement says.

The union acknowledged that face masks are uncomfortable for workers, but asked for them to comply.

“The COVID-19 Task Force will reconvene in two weeks and review updates at that time,” the UAW says. “In the meantime, Detroit Three worksites will continue to wear masks onsite to be as cautious as possible with worker health and safety.”

The union also encouraged workers to get a COVID-19 vaccine so protocols to prevent the illness can be relaxed soon.

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