Unifor Local 1941 members who usually make side air curtain airbags for the Detroit three automakers are now instead manufacturing fabric for urgently needed medical gowns.
“These highly skilled members have the capacity and are more than willing to provide the protective medical equipment Canada needs to battle COVID-19,” said Jerry Dias, Unifor National President.
So far 75 of the 220 members who work at the Autoliv plant in Tilbury have been recalled to produce special fabric for medical gowns that will protect health care workers during the pandemic.
“The gown’s design will be woven directly into the fabric, which will reduce the need to cut and sew seams. It will then be sent to an apparel manufacture for final touches, and we are so proud to do our part,” said Bob Ashton, President, Unifor Local 1941.
Production was scheduled to be halted at Autoliv on April 9, 2020 as auto makers across North America have halted production due to COVID-19.
This new six-month contract with the Canadian government means within three weeks the plant will be able to produce 168,000 square meters of fabric, which will assist in manufacturing 56,000 much needed level two gowns that are essential personal protective equipment for health care workers.
“I am very proud of the membership for embracing this opportunity to step up and provide support to our front-line workers,” said John Turton, plant chairperson.
This contract is not expected to disrupt or interfere with production when the auto plants re-open, as the Autoliv plant already had additional capacity said Turton.