General Motors' Arlington Assembly Plant is being temporarily shut down until March 30 as part of a nationwide "systematic orderly suspension of manufacturing operations in North America" due to the spread of COVID-19.
GM made the announcement Wednesday afternoon, saying the plants will be deep cleaned during the shut down and that production status will be reevaluated week-to-week after that.
GM is joined in the shutdowns by Ford and Fiat Chrysler, who are working with United Auto Workers unions to outline protocols for the partial shutdowns.
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The Arlington Assembly Plant has roughly 5,000 employees, including 4,500 who are hourly spread over three shifts. A representative for UAW Local 276 said Arlington workers must report tonight and Thursday and that a shut down schedule will be released soon.
“GM and the UAW have always put the health and safety of the people entering GM plants first, and we have agreed to a systematic, orderly suspension of production to aid in fighting COVID-19/coronavirus,” said GM Chairman and CEO Mary Barra. “We have been taking extraordinary precautions around the world to keep our plant environments safe and recent developments in North America make it clear this is the right thing to do now. I appreciate the teamwork of UAW President Rory Gamble, UAW Vice President Terry Dittes and local leadership as we take this unprecedented step.”
To ensure that production stops in a safe and orderly fashion, plants will suspend operations in a cadence, with each facility receiving specific instructions from manufacturing leadership.
“UAW members, their families and our communities will benefit from today’s announcement with the certainty that we are doing all that we can to protect our health and safety during this pandemic,” said UAW President Rory Gamble. “This will give us time to review best practices and to prevent the spread of this disease. We appreciate General Motors' actions today and will continue to work with them on health and safety plans to be implemented when we resume production.”
Workers at the Arlington plant produce about 1,200 SUVs, Yukons, Tahoes, Suburbans and Escalades, every day.