The United Auto Workers union requested a two-week work stoppage in conversations with the Big 3 Detroit automakers, the organization said in a letter to members Tuesday.
Citing recommendations from the World Health Organization and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the union said that the most responsible thing to do would be a shutdown of operations.
However, the UAW said that Ford (F) - Get Report, General Motors (GM) - Get Report and Fiat Chrysler (FCAU) - Get Report were not receptive to the suggestion and asked for 48 hours to put together plans to mitigate the chances of virus transmission.
That 48-hour window is set to expire Tuesday and the UAW and the Big 3 will reconvene their coronavirus task force to review those plans.
"I want to be very clear here: If the UAW leadership on the task force, myself and Vice Presidents Cindy Estrada, Terry Dittes and Gerald Kariem, are not satisfied that our members will be protected, we will take this conversation to the next level," the letter stated.
Earlier in the day, the UAW put out a statement of condolence for the union member who contracted the coronavirus at a GM facility in Warren, Mich. The factory was subsequently closed.
"Since mid-February, the UAW has been actively monitoring and reacting to issues related to the spread of Coronavirus. We are working with GM on the precautions and measures necessary to protect our UAW GM members and everyone who works in our facilities," the union said in a statement.
The threat of a potential work stoppage caused the Big 3 to miss out on the market rally that lifted most sectors Tuesday.
Ford fell 2.5% to $4.90 per share while GM declined 6% to $19.70 and Fiat Chrysler dipped 5.2% to $7.45 per share.