According to The Detroit Free Press, one employee tested positive for COVID-19 at Wentzville Assembly on Monday and by Thursday afternoon, the plant had five confirmed cases. As cases rose throughout the week, shop chairman and UAW Local 2250 member Alan Chambliss asked GM to shut down the plant to protect employees- a request the automaker denied.
Additionally, an anonymous source contacted GM Authority this week and said a total of nine people had tested positive for COVID-19 at the plant so far. GM would not confirm the total number of cases at Wentzville, with the automaker saying “we are not confirming individual cases and discuss specifics of individual cases.” It also said that its “protocols are working,” and added that its protocols and PPE “meet all CDC standards.”
UAW Local 2250 president Glenn Kage said he has “had conversations,” with GM about shutting the plant down for 14 days to perform a deep clean. The automaker is currently trying to remain open and catch positive COVID-19 cases using temperature monitoring, but Kage says that if the number of cases reaches 20, he will be forced to put his foot down.
“Five to 10 cases is a yellow light, 10 to 20 cases is a red light,” Kage told the Free Press this week. “In my opinion, 20 is too many. That’s the number.”
GM told the UAW that it will not shut down the plant at the moment as only a very small number of employees have tested positive for COVID-19 out of the 4,100 that work there. Employees are concerned about an outbreak, however, as three of the employees who tested positive work in the same area of the plant.
GM’s Wentzville Assembly builds the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon, along with the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana vans. GM is eager to replenish its stock of more popular models like the Colorado and Canyon, making Wentzville a crucial cog in its sales machine.