Report: GM Tells Union No to Closing Plant with Multiple Coronavirus Cases

While the local union boss is getting close to calling foul GM will not close its Wentzville, MO plant, home to the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, says a new report, after five employees at the plant tested positive for the coronavirus.

“Five to 10 cases (of coronavirus) is a yellow light, 10 to 20 cases is a red light,” UAW Local 2250 President Glenn Kage told the Detroit Free Press on Thursday. “In my opinion, 20 is too many. That’s the number.” At that point, he said it’s time for him to go to the General for a “serious conversation” about closing the plant for 14 days, per the report.

The Local has already asked GM to close the facility to do a deep clean, the Free Press reports, but GM declined and instead made some changes to improve safety protocols and track COVID-19 spread.

“They’re trying to do what’s right, but this virus is hard to attack, hard to trace and hard to contain,” Kage said. “If we see a large outbreak in one area, then we need to have a serious conversation about what to do to protect our members.”

On Monday, one employee had tested positive since the plant’s reopening last month, but that shot up to five of the plant’s approximately 4,100 workers by yesterday afternoon. Though it’s difficult to confirm where the workers were exposed to the virus.

“We’ve asked GM to shut it down and do a deep clean,” Kage said. “We’ve had conversations about it. They’re trying to catch it with temperature monitoring to minimize contamination in the plant.”

“We’re starting to see it spread and we’re going to keep an eye on it,” Kage said.

GM spokesperson Jim Cain told the Free Press that “we have dialogue all the time and that’s one of the reasons why our protocols have been successful and our restart has gone as smooth as it has.” Adding, “we really do listen and try to take all the necessary steps.”

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