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UAW Asks GM to Shut Down Texas SUV Plant as Covid Cases Soar

June 30, 2020, 4:18 PM

The United Auto Workers union local in Arlington, Texas, has asked General Motors Co. to temporarily close its large-SUV plant in the city for the safety of its workers as cases of Covid-19 rise rapidly in the state.

“Due to the most recent data on the Covid-19 outbreak, the Bargaining Committee has asked General Motors to shut down Arlington Assembly until the curve is flattened for the benefit and well-being of our members,” UAW Local 276 said on its website. “Every day we are setting new records in the number of people who are testing positive in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.”

Confirmed Covid-19 cases in Texas have been rising by more than 5,000 a day in recent weeks, and the Lone Star State reported 4,288 new cases yesterday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Cases in Tarrant County, where the plant is located, increased by 393.

Read more: Texas’s Positive-Test Rate Soars to Record 14.31%: State Data

There could be a standoff over closing the GM plant. The union is worried about worker safety, but shutting down Arlington would be a hit for GM. The plant is running on three shifts building the company’s very profitable Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade large sport-utility vehicles.

“We’re aware of the request and haven’t made changes to our production plans because we have protocols designed to keep the virus out of the facility and have multiple layers of protection in the plant to prevent a spread of the virus,” said company spokesman Jim Cain. “There’s no need to interrupt production.”

GM restarted operations at its U.S. plants the week of May 18 as cases in the upper Midwest subsided. Arlington resumed production on May 25 and is getting ready to make all-new versions of its SUVs later this year.

To contact the reporter on this story:
David Welch in Southfield at dwelch12@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story:
Craig Trudell at ctrudell1@bloomberg.net

Melinda Grenier, Kevin Miller

© 2020 Bloomberg L.P. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

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