Here’s How GM And The UAW Union Are Trying To Keep Critical Parts Moving To Customers In A Pandemic

The company will used paid volunteers to keep their parts supply chain moving

A GM parts processing center in Burton, Michigan. [Photos: General Motors]

Parts will still flow – says the UAW and GM.

General Motors, working with the UAW, agreed to shut down all U.S. parts distribution centers on top of their new vehicle production after the final work-shift on Friday, March 20th, according to a report by the Detroit Free Press. Ford Motor Company is still in discussions with the UAW, at time of writing. However, the automakers are figuring out how to keep critical parts supply chains moving in the wake of recent events.

This is all in response to the COVID-19 pandemic that’s paralyzing the auto industry worldwide. It is expected that all automotive parts suppliers will either shut down completely, or partially over the next few weeks. As a result, most fear a nationwide parts shortage.

To mitigate the impact of completely cutting off parts for business and consumers, GM parts centers will remain open. However, they will utilize a different staffing method. Volunteer workers will be permitted to keep these facilities running. They will be paid for their time, and come in on their own volition, in contrast to the normal obligations of being a full-time employee.

In the United States, General Motors has 19 parts and distribution processing centers employing about 130 workers. Ford has 21 employing over 600 workers. FCA currently has 29 parts and distribution plants in the United States. 

GM Spokesman Jim Cain: 

“While today will be our last day of normal operations, GM and the UAW have reached an agreement that will allow us to continue delivering service and repair parts to our dealers and customers, including the police agencies, fire departments and emergency service providers who rely on our vehicles all over country,” said GM Spokesman Jim Cain in a statement.

Ford issued a statement that read: “We are working closely with the UAW on the best ways to keep our workforce safe, while keeping our parts depots open to ensure the mobility of our customers and critical services.”