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GM Begins Reopening Plants After COVID-19 Shutdowns

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GM plants reopening
GM’s Flint Assembly plant, which builds Silverados and other truck models, will reopen the week of May 18
Photo: John F. Martin for Chevrolet

After long shutdowns brought on by the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, GM is reopening its plants in the U.S. and Canada.

According to the Detroit Free Press, at least three of the automaker’s parts plants reopened yesterday: the DMAX Duramax Plant in Moraine, Ohio, where the 6.6-liter Duramax diesel engine is put together; the Lockport Components Plant in Lockport, New York, which produces radiators, heater cores, HVAC modules and other components; and St. Catharines Propulsion in St. Catharines, Ontario, which makes six-speed automatic transmissions and 3.6-liter V6 engines.

GM’s vehicle assembly plants will begin opening back up next week. These include the Fort Wayne Assembly (Indiana) and Flint Assembly (Michigan) plants, which build Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra trucks; Arlington Assembly (Texas), which builds the Chevy Tahoe and Suburban, Cadillac Escalade, and GMC Yukon; and Romulus Powertrain (Michigan) which builds engines and transmissions for a wide range of GM vehicles.

The Corvette-focused Bowling Green Assembly plant in Kentucky will follow during the week of May 26.

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Corvette assembly line in Bowling Green, Kentucky
The Corvette-producing Bowling Green Assembly plant will reopen the week of May 26
Photo: General Motors

To make these reopenings possible, GM has worked with the United Auto Workers union to implement a variety of safety measures for its workers.

Plants have added thermal cameras for long-distance employee fever checks and moved workspaces to create social distancing. They’ve also stocked up on personal protective equipment like face masks and gloves, which will be required on the job. Workspaces and common area must undergo regular sanitization.

Any employees who come down with COVID-19 or who need to go into quarantine after possible contact with a sick person will get two weeks of normal pay while they’re home.

As employees return, they’ll first need to sit through training sessions to learn about each of these precautions.

Once its plants are back up and running safely, GM says it intends to ramp back up to full production by the middle of June — as long as there’s enough demand for vehicles in an economy that’s been dramatically slowed by the virus.

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