Trucks & SUVs

Can You Believe GM Restarting SUV Plant Despite Pandemic Concerns?

GM is asking for volunteers to man its Arlington, Texas, assembly plant despite the coronavirus pandemic sweeping through the US. You remember the coronavirus, right? Well, so does GM. But we can only guess that profits must be ahead of people when it comes to the Texas plant. This is where the 2021 Cadillac Escalade, Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, and the GMC Yukon are all built. These are all scheduled to launch later this year. Can you believe GM is restarting this SUV plant despite the obvious coronavirus threat?

“…it’s important for the company to change over to our new trucks as quickly as possible

GM Assembly Plant | Getty

GM sent a message to its workers seeking volunteers to show up for work on Monday. Here’s what was in that message: “Our customers are counting on our trucks and it is important for the company to change over 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 the 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.”

How GM can do this with all of the plants in the US shut down is because Texas, unlike most other states, doesn’t have a “stay in place” order. Still, as the deaths over the coronavirus continue to rise GM needs to crank out some SUVs. After all, it’s “customers are counting on our trucks.”

Are new SUVs on anyone’s minds with a pandemic in our midst?

GM Assembly Plant | Getty

We doubt that customers’ new SUVs are really on their minds at the moment. Not that you don’t make some beauties GM. It’s just that from mom and pops to huge companies the threat of transmission between people is so great it’s not worth the risk. Unless you’re GM?

GM says the duration of the effort will only last one week or possibly less. After that everyone would go back to layoff status. “This temporary restart of work to finish the build-out of current models is only at Arlington Assembly, other locations are not affected,” the request goes on to say.

Fortunately for those who feel obliged to raise their hands to potentially take a bullet for GM, the company will have in place “numerous safeguards.” To help protect the workers GM will conduct thermal temperature scanning, have all volunteers fill out questionnaires, will provide additional personal protective equipment, and have roving bands of cleaning crews.

How is social distancing enhanced because an employee works only one shift per day?

ARLINGTON, TX – JULY 13: A GM sign is seen at the General Motors Arlington Assembly Plant. (Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images)

Additionally, GM wants to limit “work to one shift per day for social distance.” Wait, what? How is social distancing enhanced because workers only work “one shift per day?” And, how can anyone be obligated to work two or three shifts per day anyway? This makes no sense.

What about those that are asymptomatic? If you have the virus but don’t have any of the signs of having it, then how do those safeguards protect your coworkers? We’re sure that this all seems crucial for GM but the optics-nevermind the danger involved, make this a risky endeavor from both a safety and liability aspect.