General Motors has opened a new employee vaccination site in a vacant conference room on the site of its under-construction Factory Zero plant in Michigan.
According to The Detroit News, hundreds of GM workers have already signed up to vaccinated at the Factory Zero site. The automaker partnered with the City of Detroit to open the vaccination center, which recently started allowing manufacturing sector workers to sign up to receive the vaccine. The Factory Zero site is the first vaccination site that GM has opened, though it plans to eventually open a vaccination site within every site it operates in the United States.
“We’ve been going through this since March of last year and finally we’ve got our first vaccination clinic going here within General Motors,” General Motors’ chief medical director, Dr. Jeffrey E. Hess, told The Detroit News this week. “It’s phenomenal.”
GM has said in the past that it will encourage its employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, but it will not be required. The United Auto Workers union echoed this sentiment, saying mandating the vaccine would be going a step too far.
“UAW members are American,” Gamble said last year. “In America, you get people with different religious beliefs, you have people who are just of the opinion that they don’t take any vaccines at all. We think that should be respected.”
A UAW employee spoke to The Detroit News after getting vaccinated at the Factory Zero site this week, telling the publication that GM’s efforts to secure its own vaccines has taken some stress off of UAW members amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We don’t have to go to other facilities; we don’t have to go stand in line; people don’t have to sit in their car and wait in long lines,” the worker, identified as Joe Ryan, said. “This is great. This is an opportunity for us to get in, get out and still continue to do our job.”
GM’s blue collar workers returned to work last spring following the pandemic-related plant closures. The automaker implemented several COVID-19 safety protocols to reduce the spread of infection within its plants, which included mandating the use of PPE, sanitizing work surfaces and giving workers paid time off if they were required to quarantine.
The majority of the automaker’s white collar workforce has been working remotely for the duration of the pandemic, though the automaker is currently preparing its offices for a return to work sometime this summer.