The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revised its guidelines on face masks, indicating that fully vaccinated individuals can safely remove their masks in certain situations previously deemed unsafe. However, General Motors plant employees will continue to be required to wear face masks, at least for now.
In a recent statement, the United Auto Workers (UAW) labor union, which represents nearly 50,000 GM workers, in conjunction with General Motors, Ford, and Stellantis comprising the COVID-19 Joint Task Force, announced that face masks would still be required while on the job, citing “an abundance of caution.”
“The COVID-19 Task Force met and after reviewing the CDC guidelines and OSHA [Occupational Safety and Health Administration] standards, decided it is best for worker safety to wait for expected updated OSHA workplace standards and consult health experts to maintain safety and uniformity as we transition through the pandemic,” the statement reads.
A policy reevaluation planned in two weeks’ time.
“We know that masks can be uncomfortable, but we ask that everyone comply,” the statement adds.
In addition to requiring face masks for General Motors workers, the COVID-19 Joint Task Force is also requiring face masks for workers at Ford and Stellantis.
Additionally, workers are encouraged to get vaccinated. “We encourage everyone to roll up their sleeve so we can move more quickly toward continuing to relax our protocols,” the statement reads.
Back in March, General Motors announced that workers in the state of Texas would continue to wear face masks, despite an executive order from Texas Governor Greg Abbott rolling back the state’s face mask mandate.
Last year, General Motors issued a 40-page handbook to employees outlining best practices in preventing the spread of COVID-19 in the workplace. The handbook lists face masks and other PPE, as well as temperature screening, a COVID-19 symptom questionnaire, workplace sanitization, and social distancing practices.