According to The Detroit News, Wentzville Assembly has been cut down from three shifts to two after many employees stopped showing up to work due to concerns stemming from the COVID-19 pandemic. GM sent a memo to employees affected by the decision on Saturday, saying it will “begin canvassing 3rd shift employees to identify their desire to either participate in a temporary layoff or express their interest to be considered for available work opportunities.”
In a statement released this week, GM spokesman David Barnas said the decision to cut Wentzville Assembly from three shifts to two is a temporary measure.
“We believe in the short term a two-shift operating plan will allow us to operate as efficiently as possible and accommodate team members who are not reporting to work due to concerns about COVID-19 in the local community,” Barnas told The Detroit News.
Barnas also told workers who are concerned about coming in to work due to the COVID-19 that they have nothing to be worried about due to the safety protocols the automaker has put in place at its production plants worldwide.
“People on our team should not be concerned about coming to work,” he said. “GM Wentzville is following multi-layered safety protocols that are working very well to keep people safe by reducing the possibility that COVID-19 can enter the plant and preventing any spread within the plant.”
Each shift at Wentzville Assembly includes roughly 1,250 hourly employees. The plant builds the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon pickup trucks, along with the Chevrolet Express and GMC Savana work vans. GM has been desperately trying to ramp-up production of some of its more popular models in recent weeks, which includes the Colorado and Canyon after the two-month COVID-19 related shutdown caused it to run low on inventory.
GM also said this week that “strong dealer and customer demand for mid-size trucks and vans,” will ensure that the third shift at Wentzville eventually returns once the COVID-19 pandemic subsides.
The UAW did not comment on GM’s decision to cut the third shift at Wentzville but acknowledged that it is monitoring the situation.