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Saluting 3,000 Toledo Jeep Workers to `Return-To-Work' Monday by State

American Government Topics:  Jeep
Special Collection:  COVID-19

Saluting 3,000 Toledo Jeep Workers to `Return-To-Work' Monday by State

Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur
Congressional Record: 116th Congress
Extensions of Remarks
15 May 2020

  Ms. KAPTUR. Madam Speaker, I rise today with sincere concern for the 
well-being of thousands of workers and include in the Record this 
congratulatory entry during the COVID-19 pandemic. This coming Monday 
thousands of plant workers, largely connected to auto manufacturing and 
supplier networks, will ``return to work.'' Their return is a State of 
Ohio decision by the Governor to allow production to resume at Fiat 
Chrysler in Toledo and hundreds of other Ohio manufacturing facilities. 
As Co-Chair of the U.S. House Auto Caucus, I represent workers who 
build the iconic Jeep product, vehicles from GM and Ford, and 
components from glass to tires and from paint to bucket seats. These 
plants and their workers were as instrumental in creating reliable over 
ground transportation during the last century in World War II that 
carried our Allied victory. Today they are building new hybrid and 
electric vehicle technologies. Ohioans build things. Workers must be 
allowed to do their craft in a healthy and safe environment. In their 
``return to work,'' these workers likely represent the largest 
manufacturing workforce to restart production nearly anywhere in 
  My primary concern remains the workers, their health and safety, and 
the absolute necessity of embarking upon a COVID-19 testing regime that 
will protect them, their coworkers, and their families from the spread 
of the dreaded Covid-19 virus even as the Governor has opened the doors 
to these plants. To this end, I have spent hours on end on the 
telephone and in meetings with top executives, union leaders, workers, 
health professionals, local health departments, the state health 
department, private and publicly operated labs. My goal: to get up and 
running, the testing capacity for which l have voted for and workers 
have been promised. But that is still largely lacking in Ohio and 
across our nation.
  I remain deeply concerned about the health and safety of Ohio's 
workers. I offer my full cooperation to achieve a testing regime 
acceptable to our workforce, medical sciences, and all concerned. 
Workers who enter plants across Ohio will be working at a closer 
density than those who live in many of our nursing homes where COVID-19 
has struck with a vengeance. In the case of Toledo Jeep, workers will 
travel from Michigan and Indiana to work - untested and uncertain about 
what they face. Contact tracing will be harder without testing. Lucas 
County already has endured the highest number of COVID-19 related 
deaths in our State. We must pay attention. Today, the Veteran's Home 
in Sandusky was struck by the COVID-19. It only takes one person who 
has the virus asymptomatically to directly spread it to many others. 
Testing is the only way to ensure that workers can work in a safe 
environment. A temperature test is not sufficient.
  I cannot remain silent as this workforce begins not only a new week, 
but a new chapter in American history. I offer my full personal and 
financial support as l am able to work with the management and 
workforce representatives at the Fiat Chrysler and other facilities to 
embark upon necessary, free testing to assure the short and long-term 
health of these valuable American workers. Ours is a great nation, We 
must not accept less.
  On a personal note, our beloved father retired from the old Jeep 
facility on Central Avenue and our beautiful mother served the 
organizing committee of the original United Auto Workers unit at 
Champion Spark Plug, I believe our family knows firsthand what it takes 
to assure worker health and safety, In their memory, I take this stand 
for autoworkers, and all workers, who are being released to the 
workforce. Our great nation has the capability to safeguard the health 
and well-being of every person. To paraphrase a Civil War Admiral: 
``Damn the Torpedoes! Full speed ahead!'' This must be our rallying cry 
for testing all our workers. America should accept no less than the 

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