General Motors said PPE will be required when returning to work

Published: May. 4, 2020 at 5:13 PM EDT
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The UAW and General Motors are working together to implement new safety measures for employees when they return to work, including social distancing and more personal protective equipment.

Steve Delaney, Vice President UAW Local 602 said, "They will be wearing face masks and the social distancing thing will be a big concern."

General Motors sent out a flyer requiring all employees to wear face masks, but GM notes social distancing is impossible for workers on the assembly line.

Delaney said, "Some of the jobs working shoulder to shoulder touching the same part, the same time.

But wearing PPE for some workers might be challenging if they have asthma or if they are claustrophobic.

"If they have a true medical condition and have a note from a doctor they will get regular paid sick leave," Delaney said. "If they say 'I just don't feel safe going back to work' they can go on unpaid leave."

GM also notes that there will be disinfectant products on every shift.

Entering the building will also be different for employees. They will go through a thermal imaging station.

If they don't have a fever they will be issued a mask, which they will have to wear with their safety glasses.

Despite the regulations, the return of GM operations will be great for small businesses and the Lansing economy.

Bob Trezise, President of Lansing Economic Area Partnership said, "Work at the top of the pyramid, GM the other auto suppliers and that is really the best way we can help small businesses, by having people get their paychecks again. So having those 15 thousand plus workers in our community at gm and auto suppliers is really imperative."

The stay-at-home order is expected to be lifted on May 15, but because it falls on a Friday, Delaney said GM employees won't go back to work until Monday, May 18.

GM has not commented on a start date for employees.

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