Workers at a key General Motors assembly plant want a break for coronavirus safety, but the automaker isn't interested in shutting down.
The UAW local in Arlington, Texas, has asked GM to temporarily close its 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 cases in Texas have been rising by more than 5,000 a day in recent weeks, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Tarrant County, where the plant is located, had 11,739 confirmed cases and 225 deaths as of Wednesday, July 1.
There could be a standoff over closing the plant. The union is worried about worker safety, but shutting down Arlington would be a loss for GM and its dealers.
The plant is running on three shifts to build the company's very profitable Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade large SUVs.
"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 most of its U.S. plants the week of May 18 as cases in the upper Midwest subsided. Arlington resumed production May 25 and is getting ready to make redesigned versions of its SUVs this year.