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The UAW local in Arlington, Texas, has asked General Motors. to temporarily close its large-SUV plant in the city for the safety of its workers as cases of COVID-19 rise rapidly in the state.
“Due to the most recent data on the COVID-19 outbreak, the Bargaining Committee has asked General Motors to shut down Arlington Assembly until the curve is flattened for the benefit and well-being of our members,” UAW Local 276 said on its website. “Every day we are setting new records in the number of people who are testing positive in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.”
Confirmed cases in Texas have been rising by more than 5,000 a day in recent weeks, and the Lone Star State reported 4,288 new cases yesterday, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services. Cases in Tarrant County, where the plant is located, increased by 393.
There could be a standoff over closing the GM plant. The union is worried about worker safety, but shutting down Arlington would be a hit for GM. The plant is running on three shifts building the company’s very profitable Chevrolet Tahoe, GMC Yukon and Cadillac Escalade large SUVs.
“We’re aware of the request and haven’t made changes to our production plans because we have protocols designed to keep the virus out of the facility and have multiple layers of protection in the plant to prevent a spread of the virus,” said company spokesman Jim Cain. “There’s no need to interrupt production.”
GM restarted operations at its U.S. plants the week of May 18 as cases in the upper Midwest subsided. Arlington resumed production on May 25 and is getting ready to make all-new versions of its SUVs later this year.