(Adds details on Stellantis vaccinations)
DETROIT, Feb 10 (Reuters) - The Detroit Three automakers and the United Auto Workers are working on plans to make coronavirus vaccinations available to auto factory workers when supplies are available, UAW President Rory Gamble said on Wednesday.
“All three companies have committed” to vaccinating workers, Gamble said during a video conference with the Detroit Automotive Press Association. Gamble said Stellantis NV has begun vaccinating workers at one of the company’s U.S. factories.
About 1,200 workers at a Stellantis assembly plant in Belvidere, Ill., which builds Jeeps, received coronavirus vaccinations during a drive last week, company spokeswoman Jodi Tinson said on Wednesday.
Illinois has begun allocating vaccine doses to certain manufacturers. Stellantis is prepared to offer vaccinations at more U.S. facilities, but other states have not yet allocated vaccine doses to manufacturers, Tinson said.
“We don’t think it should be a requirement of employment. We want to make it readily available where people can come to work and get their shots and feel safer,” the UAW’s Gamble said.
A key issue for access to coronavirus shots is whether auto workers are classed as “essential workers.” Gamble said he is making the argument that they are.
“Auto manufacturing is very essential to the economic health of this country,” he said. (Reporting By Joe White; Editing by Chris Reese and Dan Grebler)