The re-tooling process began earlier this month after production of the previous-generation line of full-size SUVs had concluded. Many automotive plants in the United States closed their doors due to the pandemic on March 23rd, but Arlington remained open to complete production of the outgoing line of SUVs. A number of paid employee volunteers stepped up to help GM complete the production of the older models and retool the plant in preparation for the new ones.
Texas’ stay-at-home order was lifted on Thursday, allowing certain businesses to re-open with limited occupant capacity, including malls, movie theaters, retail stores and restaurants. GM will be able to start production on the full-size SUVs soon, however it is still in discussion with the UAW over when production line employees will return to work and what kind of safety protocols it should put in place. The automaker may also experience some parts supply issues with certain vehicles, as many suppliers in North America and abroad have also been shut down in recent months.
Ken Hines, president of the UAW Local 272 that represents workers at Arlington, said the union is taking into account CDC suggestions in deciding when the union should return to work.
“We’re looking at the proposals and the CDC guidelines,” Hines told The Detroit Free Press. “Then, we’ll go from there.”
GM released a 48-page ‘Global Safety Playbook’ this week to inform workers on best practices for staying safe and preventing the spread of the virus when they return to work. Cautionary measures the company will take include taking employees’ temperatures when they arrive at work, providing them with PPE such as face masks, having them fill out health questionnaires and mandating social distancing.
GM will build the 2021 Chevrolet Tahoe and Chevrolet Suburban, 2021 GMC Yukon and Yukon XL and 2021 Cadillac Escalade and Escalade ESV at the Arlington Assembly plant. It will be eager to start production of the SUVs and begin shipping them to dealers, as vehicles like the Tahoe and Yukon are extremely popular and highly profitable.
Source: The Detroit Free Press