Employees at General Motors‘ Warren Technical Center in Michigan have slowly begun to return to work following a lengthy COVID-19 related shutdown.
According to The Detroit Free Press, a “small number” of GM employees went back to work at the Warren facility last week when most of GM’s hourly production workers went back to work. GM spokesman Jim Cain also confirmed to the newspaper that other employees will start “returning to other sites in phases based on a number of factors, with health and safety the No. 1 consideration.”
It’s not clear when GM’s other white-collar facilities, such as the Renaissance Center in downtown Detroit and its Milford Proving Ground in rural Michigan, will come back online. Roughly 20,000 people work at the Warren Technical Center, with another 5,000 people stationed at the Renaissance Center.
A source familiar with GM’s post-pandemic plans told the Free Press the automaker plans to bring employees back under a four-phase strategy. The first phase began on May 18th, when hourly workers and white-collar employees who must be at work to perform their jobs returned in limited numbers. Phase two will allow workers who may be more effective in their role if they are at work to return, while phase three will include employees who are able to work remotely. The fourth phase will be a complete return to normal operating procedures for all GM employees. The automaker has not decided on start dates for phase two, three and four at this time, the newspaper said.
Earlier this month, GM sent employees a 40-page handbook outlining the safety protocols it has put in place for when their return to work. Workers at production plants are required to wear proper PPE and have their temperatures taken before they enter the facility and are also asked to wipe down their work station once their shift or rotation is up. GM’s white-collar employees, meanwhile, are being asked to stagger their seating in meetings and conference rooms and avoid talking face-to-face if possible.
The majority of GM’s vehicle and parts production plants in the U.S. and Canada came back online this week and last week, with the automaker hoping to be back up and running at full capacity by mid-to-late June.