As a winter storm front brings snowfall, ice and dangerous windchill figures across the United States, GM has just announced that they are halting shifts at four of their latest production facilities. According to a report from the Detroit Free Press, as many as 8,000 employees are going to be affected by the partial shut down. These include folks working at the Arlington Assembly plant in Texas, the home of General Motors’ highly profitable full-size SUV operations. The vehicles included are the Cadillac Escalade, Chevrolet Suburban, Chevrolet Tahoe, and GMC Yukon family of SUVs.
The announcement comes as Texas faces some of the coldest temperatures recorded in the state in nearly a century, and as snow and ice continue to pile up. In a state without snow plowing equipment, the weather has made travel quite dangerous. According to a statement from GM, these conditions hinder the operation of the plant, as well as endanger the men and women who work there. Things are so dicey in fact that Texas’ Governor has issued a disaster declaration as the wintery mix looks to continue throughout the coming week. Other facilities that are slated to be closed are as follows:
- Three shifts at their Spring Hill, Tennessee facility will close.
- Three shifts at Arlington Assembly in Texas will close
- The second shift at Bowling Green Assembly plant in Kentucky will close
- The second shift at Wentzville Assembly in Missouri will close
GM spokesman David Barnas told the Detroit Free Press that the company aims to make up as much of the lost production time at Arlington Assembly and Spring Hill Assembly as possible, though he gave no specific production targets. General Motors can build a mix of around 1,200 full-size SUVs in Arlington per day, which costs the automaker around $1 million in wages a day. The profits earned from the Chevrolet Tahoe and Suburban, Cadillac Escalade and GMC Yukon SUVs are a key part of GM’s business operations, especially as they look to transition to electric vehicle production in the near future.
A UAW spokesman confirmed to the paper that the current contract in place with the union will require GM to pay out nearly, if not all, of the wages owed to the employees for the time missed during these shutdowns.
Ford also has been affected by the severe storm, as they announced that they are shutting down operations at their Kansas City, Missouri facility due to corners over natural gas supplies. This facility is home to a portion of F-150 production, as well as the Transit van. Stellantis has made no comment related to the storm at this time.
As the majority of the United States braces for a miserable few days, General Motors and their fellow automakers are going on standby. This likely isn’t something they’re very excited about, especially considering all of the time they spent offline last year. At least these shutdowns are related to the ongoing pandemic, however.