2,500 GM Tech Center employees work from home as flood cleanup continues

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. had hoped to have the remaining 2,500 workers displaced since the Aug. 11 flood back at the Tech Center on Friday, but said additional work needs to be completed before those employees can return.

The Detroit automaker said 16,500 of the 19,000 employees and contract workers at the Tech Center are back to work at the Warren site. No new estimates were given on when the impacted workers will return to the Tech Center.

“The flood recovery team at the GM Tech Center in Warren is working around the clock to resume full campus operations,” GM said in a statement.

GM said most of the 2,500 impacted workers are working from home or other company locations.

The company said more restoration work is needed in the closed Design Center, Research and Development building and smaller engineering sites. About 1,400 people work in the Design Center, while R&D houses about 300.

“We are taking the recovery one day at a time,” the company said in a statement. “Our focus continues to ensure the health and safety of our employees and contract team members.”

About 200 UAW Local 160 members who do design fabrication work on prototype vehicles in the Design Center — and other employees who work in the Research and Development building — are on temporary layoff, David Small, acting president of UAW Local 160 in Warren, told The Detroit News this week. He hopes those workers will return before Labor Day.

GM closed the Tech Center Aug. 12 and began calling back workers later that day and over the course of last week and early this week.

Parts of the basements in the Design Center and Research and Development building had an estimated six to seven feet of water due to the flood. An early estimate said more than 30 million gallons of water, or enough to fill 45 Olympic-size swimming pools, had to be pumped from basements and tunnels that connect buildings at the Tech Center. At least one car damaged in the flooding has been deemed a total loss, a GM spokeswoman said.


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