Almost 1,000 workers have started to undergo training at the Kokomo GM manufacturing facility to build ventilators to combat the pandemic. These employees are paid volunteers from GM’s workforce who have been forced to be laid back because of the outbreak.
GM has partnered with Washington-based Ventec Life Systems hoping to build 10,000 devices that help patients with severe respiratory symptoms. Vice President of GM’s global manufacturing, Gerald Johnson, said, “People have moved mountains to help increase production of Ventec’s critical care ventilator and we are just weeks away from delivering these life saving devices. I have never seen anything like it in my career”.
The Detroit automaker is also making strict measures to protect its employees such as sanitizing hands before work starts, have a routine temperature check before entry to the site, and face masks should be worn at all times including those at GM’s Warren Transmission plant.
United Auto Workers Vice President and Director of the GM department, Terry Dittes, said this about the implementation: “Our goal is to make sure that each and every day, people return home to their families and communities safe and healthy. We applaud their courage in volunteering in our nation’s time of need, and we commend GM for working with the UAW to save lives across this country”.
Other automotive companies have caught wind as well. Ford Motor Co. has started similar measures at their Rawsonville Components Plant that’s currently working on air-pressure powered ventilators for GE health workers. Employees will still observe pre-screening measures and PPEs in place for safety.
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