U.S. auto workers return to assembly lines

Detroit's Big Three automakers - General Motors, Ford Motor, and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles - said last week they planned to restart production at North American plants on May 18.

The target date was set after tacit approval from the powerful United Auto Workers union, which previously opposed a May restart as "too soon and too risky."

Video Transcript

- And you and I are working here, and we're good [INAUDIBLE]

It's a great sign that we're trying to get back to some level of functionality within the environment that we now find ourselves in. And I think it's good on both an economic but also a psychological level, I think, that workers need to be reassured that life is going to go on after this thing. I think consumers and executives, everyone wants to feel like we can move forward. And maybe things aren't perfect and completely back to normal, but we can start to function within this kind of new normal, or this short-term hopefully normal, to get economic and functional and psychological standards moving again.

From our trip to Toledo, we saw that they used a lot of [INAUDIBLE]

We've got these new standards in place. They're going to have everything from temperature checking to masks and gloves and a certain amount of distance between the workers. And how much will this impact any given plant's or any given manufacturer's productivity? And I don't think we know that yet. I don't even think really the automakers know that for sure yet. But we're going to find out soon.

And of course, we're going to have the same thing on the demand side. So demand will probably be impacted for the near-term. So ultimately, it probably will work out OK.

There's maybe a reduced productivity in these plants because there's probably going to be some reduced demand as well. But over a longer period, it's going to be interesting to see how long it takes to maybe ramp these plants up to their full capacity and, more interestingly, how long before they need to be at full capacity on the demand side from consumers. These two things, I don't think anyone really knows yet.