GM reverses plan to cut shift at pickup plant

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General Motors has reversed its plan to temporarily cut the third shift at its midsize pickup plant in Wentzville, Mo., possibly opting to transfer laid-off workers from other states to the plant instead.

GM confirmed plans to cut the third shift on July 11 because of worker absenteeism as cases of COVID-19 in Missouri increased.

GM told Automotive News at the time that there was enough demand for three shifts. The automaker was working on a staffing plan to resume a three-shift schedule as soon as possible.

More than two weeks later, cases of the coronavirus in Missouri continue to climb, reaching 37,375 as of July 26, according to Johns Hopkins.

“Transfers from other GM locations along with the strategic use of temporary employees could be part of the Wentzville staff plan,” spokesman Dan Flores told Automotive News on Tuesday.

CNBC on Thursday reported GM’s decision to keep the third shift.

The decision to lay off about 1,250 workers was purely driven by high absenteeism and not related to low demand for the Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon that are built at the plant, GM said earlier this month.

In addition to the Colorado and Canyon, the Wentzville plant, which employs 4,100 salaried and hourly workers, builds the Chevy Express and GMC Savana full-size commercial vans.

GM also confirmed cases of the virus among employees at two Michigan plants last week but said the positive cases did not affect production.

One worker tested positive at GM’s Lansing Delta Township assembly plant, after being exposed outside of work. Based on contact tracing, no one else in the plant will have to quarantine, said Flores. At GM’s nearby Lansing Grand River plant, two workers tested positive after being exposed to the virus outside of work. As of Friday afternoon, GM was in the process of contact tracing at the plant.

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