GM is getting plants ready to reopen with new safety measures

Posted at 1:53 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-27 16:54:00-04

After a worldwide shutdown, automotive production is slowly resuming in China and Germany. It could soon be back here in the U.S. and metro Detroit.

For thousands of autoworkers looking at their new normal, Warren is where it has been developed.

RELATED: Ford calls for some workers to return in preparation of future restart date

Right now, General Motors has salaried employees working with contractors getting plants ready for large scale production. Safety procedures have been developed and used at the Warren Transmission plant that is making masks for medical personnel.

Getting cleared to go in is an extensive process that includes answering several questions and having your surface temperature taken. If it’s elevated, you go through a secondary screening.

Step two is an orientation with social distancing.

Step three is a surprise – a walk through a wind chamber to blow off any dust and debris with a walk on a sticky mat to clear your shoes.

7 Action News photographer Chris Jones and Reporter Jim Kiertzner were also given cloth mesh hairnets and coats to go into the clean room where face masks are being made. With all of that gear, people can stand closer than the 6-foot social distancing as many medical personnel do on the job.

Jim Glynn is in GM Workplace Safety and says most autoworkers will wear masks and safety glasses.

More than 600,000 masks have made here and are going to metro Detroit hospitals and out of state.

Some of the materials were converted by suppliers that were going into car parts.

The masks have to be sanitized before bagged and being shipped.

Within the next few days, N95 masks will be made here that are top of the line and can be used by doctors to perform surgery.

UAW President Rory L. Gamble is speaking out against an early May reopening of auto plants, releasing this statement:

At this point in time, the UAW does not believe the scientific data is conclusive that it is safe to have our members back in the workplace. We have not done enough testing to really understand the threat our members face. We want to make sure the scientific data is supportive and every possible health protocols and enhanced protections are in place before UAW members walk into the workplace.

We are in support of Governor Whitmer extending the Stay at Home order. We strongly suggest to our companies in all sectors that an early May date is too soon and too risky to our members, their families and their communities.

That said we are happy with the auto companies’ response and cooperation on working through the health and safety protocols we will need in the workplace when it is appropriate to restart.