General Motors recently announced that it will suspend production at its automotive manufacturing plants indefinitely, and will be repurposing two facilities to produce masks and ventilators to combat the deadly COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. However, there’s one exception to GM’s plant closures: the Arlington, Texas assembly plant.
This golden goose of a facility is where the automaker builds all of its highly profitable full-size sport utility vehicles – a segment where General Motors absolutely dominates. Without the sweeping disruption of the COVID-19 pandemic, this facility was scheduled to launch the all-new 2021 Cadillac Escalade, 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe, 2021 Chevrolet Suburban, and 2021 GMC Yukon family in a few short months from now.
Our customers are counting on our trucks and it is important for the company to changeover to our new trucks as quickly as possible. To this end, in the next hours, we will begin calling our full seniority hourly employees to volunteer to commit to work next week beginning Monday, March 30 on day shift. In addition, volunteers will be solicited for all three shifts in maintenance and repair. Temporary workers will be called if more volunteers are needed.
Unlike states like Michigan, Texas does not have a “stay at home” order in place. At least, not yet. However, the work is not expected to take long.
“This work is expected to last one week or less after which all volunteers would return to layoff status. This temporary restart of work to finish the build out of current models is only at Arlington Assembly, other GM locations are not affected,” General Motors said in a statement.
For safety measures, GM says that it will have “numerous safeguards” to protect workers from COVID19, such as thermal temperature scanning, individual questionnaires, additional personal protective equipment and cleaning crews and limiting work to one shift per day for social distance.
These safeguards unfortunately do little to detect COVID19 carriers who would otherwise be asymptomatic.