Maryland Congressional delegates urge Trump, GM to Reopen White Marsh Plant to Manufacture Ventilators

Posted at 6:05 PM, Apr 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-21 18:10:49-04

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Maryland's congressional members are calling on the president and General Motors leaders to reopen the White Marsh plant to support the COVID-19 pandemic.

U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, Jamie Raskin, David Trone, John P. Sarbanes, Anthony G. Brown, and Steny H. Hoyer, all sent letters to President Trump and General Motors (GM) Chairman and CEO Mary Barra wxplaining that the plant should be reopened to help fulfill GM’s recent contract to produce thousands of ventilators under the Defense Production Act and in order to supply the region as the number of local COVID-19 cases continues to grow.

According to the lawmakers, the plant is highly capable of to increase the supply of ventilators in an area that needs aid.

On April 8, GM received a contract to build 30,000 ventilators under the Defense Production Act.

The full text of the letter to GM is available here and below.

Dear Chairman Barra:

We write to urge you to reopen your plant in White Marsh, Maryland to produce much-needed ventilators for hospitals.

On April 8, you received a contract to build 30,000 ventilators under the Defense Production Act. Maryland had over 13,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of April 20. As numbers continue to rise across the state and region, reopening the White Marsh plant will put high-skilled workers back to work and ensure that ventilators are available and easily accessible in an area with multiple hotspots.

Instituting the highest health and safety standards is fundamental to protect workers who are putting themselves at risk to help our nation respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. As General Motors (GM) begins to produce ventilators, it is essential to protect the health and safety of workers and prevent the transmission of COVID-19. To ensure that safety, we urge you to include your workers in the development of workplace health and safety protocols, as they are the ones directly impacted by these policies.

Until its closure, the White Marsh plant employed hundreds of workers producing highly complex machinery from electric motors to transmissions. The federal government’s recent contract with GM provides you with an opportunity to utilize these workers’ skills. We are also urging President Trump to use the Defense Production Act to reopen the White Marsh plant, but we hope you will move proactively to reopen the plant with the highest safety standards and put these employees back to work.