Scorpions and certain spiders inject toxins that can result in serious injury or even death. So far no one has been bitten, according to UAW officials and GM.
GM spokeswoman Annalisa Esposito says: "We're not aware of any complaints" about unwelcome creatures in shipping containers. "We go to great length to see that our workers are protected."
The inclusion of critters in shipments to U.S. auto plants is not unusual, especially shipments made to service parts plants, industry executives say. Service parts -- parts sold to auto dealers and retailers -- may sit in outdoor inventory in Third World nations for weeks awaiting shipment.
Overseas shipping can yield even greater damage beyond the plant floor. Shipments from Asia in solid wood packing material brought the Emerald Ash Borer exotic beetle into North America in the summer of 2002.
Diligent Third World suppliers fumigate shipments to eliminate hazards.
Ford Motor Co. was not immune from unwelcome creatures hiding in the wiring harnesses it received from the Philippines, Mexico and China, says an industry executive who once worked for the former United Technologies Automotive, the wiring harness supplier.
"It made people very excitable," he says.
Many of the creatures fail to survive the long trip or the cold temperatures. The scorpion that hitched a ride with engine thermostats to the Flint engine plant fared better.
Dale Sivil, a supplier quality engineer at the plant, took the creature home, where it reportedly is doing well and keeping warm.
You may e-mail Robert Sherefkin at [email protected]