The third shift at the GM Spring Hill Assembly plant in Tennessee will return to work in late June, bringing the plant back to full capacity following the COVID-19 shutdown.
According to The Daily News Journal, employees on the third shift at Spring Hill Assembly have been notified they must return to work on June 21st. The third shift at the plant, which includes around 900 hourly workers, runs from 10 p.m. until 6:30 a.m.
“I am very happy that General Motors finalized the return to work date for our third-shift members,” UAW Local 1853 Chairman Mike Herron told The Daily News Journal this week. “I know that the fact that GM did not initially have a return date for third shift — after they announced return dates for first and second shifts — created a concern for many of our workers on third. Now I hope that this economy continues to rebound quickly to its pre-COVID-19 robust levels.”
The first and second shifts at the GM Spring Hill plant returned to work earlier this month when the majority of GM’s U.S. and Canadian plants came back online. GM shut down its U.S. facilities in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. More than 2,000 employees work on the first and second shifts at the plant.
GM has implemented a number of safety protocols at its parts and vehicle production facilities, which it outlined in a 40-page handbook sent to employees earlier this month. Workers have their temperatures taken when they arrive at work, are required to wear PPE such as face masks and glasses and must sanitize their work area between shifts or job rotations.
Herron said many employees at Spring Hill “do not like the concept of wearing a mask for 8 ½ hours of work in the heat and sweat of summer in the South,” but said the sacrifice is worth it if it can prevent outbreaks like those seen in meatpacking plants.
GM said previously that it wants its U.S. plants to be back up and running at full capacity by mid-to-late June, as long as demand for new vehicles remains at a certain level.
“Ideally, in a perfect world, by around June 15th, all of our facilities would be operating at their original capacity,” said Philip Kienle, GM’s vice president of North American manufacturing. “But, again, I just give the caveat: market demand. We’re not going to override market demand.”
The GM Spring Hill plant builds the GMC Acadia, Cadillac XT5 and Cadillac XT6 crossovers. The complex also houses three engine lines, which produce a wide variety of GM engines, including the 5.3L EcoTec3 V8 and 6.2L L87 V8.