GM Flint Assembly plant worker tests positive for virus

Kalea Hall
The Detroit News

Detroit — General Motors Co. shut down production Thursday at its profit-rich Flint Assembly truck plant after the workforce learned an hourly employee there tested positive for the coronavirus.

"We shutdown not because of that case but just because of growing concern in the workforce," Local 598 Shop Chairman Eric Welter told The Detroit News. 

The United Auto Workers Local 598 member had not been in the plant since March 5 for other reasons, GM and the union said, so no quarantine measures for other employees there need to be enforced.

GM Flint Assembly plant

Along with rivals Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV, GM is shutting down all of its North American assembly plants in response to concern for the virus. Flint Assembly was originally going to go down Wednesday, Welter said, but that date was bumped to Friday as union members learned about the case and concern spread through the plant. 

"So we said: 'You know what, enough is enough,'" Welter said. "It's just safer to shut down. It was in the people's best interest for their and their family's health. It just wasn't fair to keep them working with all of that anxiety and emotional turmoil in the factories."

The plant officially started its temporary shutdown Thursday afternoon. GM confirmed the case and that the employee had not been in the plant since March 5. 

"Since January, General Motors has been taking decisive action around the world to prevent the spread of coronavirus because the health and safety of our employees and everyone who enters our facilities is our top priority," the company said in a statement

GM previously had a coronavirus case at its Warren Technical Center, but the Flint Assembly case is the first the company has reported at an assembly plant in the United States.