With the latest news from the UAW and the State of Kentucky regarding the coronavirus shutdown, it looks like we are beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. And for Corvette fans, that means the resumption of the 2020 Corvette production could be here as early as May 18th.
The Big 3 domestic automakers have been negotiating with the United Auto Workers on when manufacturing can restart at the various facilities across North America. There’s a lot of moving parts to get manufacturing up and running as it’s not just the factory that needs to restart, but all the vendors and suppliers also need to be back to work as well. With the states having their own individual shelter in place orders, that could be dicey for the next month or so.
Michigan’s stay at home order for non-essential workers was extended through May 15th. Yesterday, Kentucky’s Governor Beshear issued guidance for when various businesses could reopen and set May 11th as the date for when manufacturing and automotive dealerships can resume operations. Reopening plans for the state of New York where the C8 Corvette’s LT2 V8 engines are assembled at the Tonawanda Powertrain facility are also still in the works. The good news there is that upstate New York wasn’t as hard hit as New York City and indications are that New York’s reopening plan could be rolled out regionally with manufacturing slated as one of the first sectors to be reopened.
A recent memo from GM to workers indicated that restarting the plants would take some time and that a team of salaried workers and managers would come in early as paid volunteers to prepare operations before the restart occurs. There may also be some discussions about plant workers going through retraining exercises to get back up to speed as the plant has been closed for over a month.
When workers return to manufacturing at the Corvette Assembly Plant, there will be new protocols set up to keep everyone as safe as possible. GM has said that the safety protocols for workers will include:
- Health and temperature screening
- Heavy workplace cleaning
- Social distancing strategies
- Following top medical and scientific data including guidance from the CDC
When it comes to recalling workers, UAW spokesman Brian Rothenberg said, “UAW President Rory Gamble has said the single focus should be on the health and safety of members and the litmus test should be whether your own family member would be safe going into that plant.”
The Corvette Assembly Plant shut down at the end of March 20th with approximately 2700 new Corvettes assembled to date. The production of the 2020 model year is expected to run through the end of August.
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