When North American automakers began to reopen their production facilities here in the United States, concerns surrounding the coronavirus were still at the front of many UAW workers minds. Now, we have information that suggests that the number of positive cases is growing in two of General Motors facilities down south that produce vital pickup trucks and utility vehicles, such as the all-new 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade.
The information comes from a report by the Detroit Free Press, which states that there are currently 22 confirmed cases at the Arlington Assembly plant, while 12 more have been confirmed at the Wentzville, Missouri facilities. Arlington produces the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, GMC Yukon and Yukon XL, as well as the Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV. Wentzille produces the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon midsize trucks, as well as the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana full-size vans.
The Detroit-based automaker won’t comment on these figures based on their policy, but the Freep says their information comes from company documents and a UAW employee who was willing to speak under the precaution of anonymity.
This isn’t just an issue inside of General Motors facilities down south. This report comes as the country as a whole is grappling with rising case numbers after states began their reopening procedures. Reopening the economy without the backing of a vaccine was always going to leave this possibility of a surge open, but it is clear at this point that we don’t have this thing beat.
At this time those who have tested positive for the virus make us less than one percent of the total population of those GM facilities, but any presence of the virus is sure to cause discomfort for employees. We saw fears surrounding the virus close some FCA plants early in the pandemic, and it’s not impossible that this could happen once again. According to that anonymous UAW source, the Union is willing to have to step in and ask the automakers to close their facilities should the risk continue to grow.
GM is likely not very happy with the proposition that they may have to shut down once again. Two major stalls in production over the course of the past year have left the company low on stock, as well as wreaking havoc on the C8 Corvette’s first year on the market. The report may have focused on COVID-19 in GM’s plants, but it’s not hard to imagine that this is happening elsewhere in the industry as well.