With Severe Shortage Of Ventilators Expected As COVID-19 Rapidly Spreads, GM Is Ramping-Up Production Of Live-Saving Medical Device; Schumer, Gillibrand, Morelle Say GM’s Rochester Plant Is The Perfect Place To Increase Production 

Reps Explain That GM’s Rochester Plant Already Has The Facilities And Workforce At-The-Ready To Fight The Global Pandemic 

Reps To GM: Rochester Plant Is Revved Up And Ready To Go

U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, and U.S. Congressman Joseph Morelle today urged General Motors (GM) Chairman and CEO, Marry Barra, to locate ventilator production at GM’s Rochester Components plant as GM increases ventilator production to mitigate the severe shortage of the life-saving device that is expected as coronavirus (COVID-19) rapidly spreads. Schumer, Gillibrand, and Morelle explained that Rochester’s GM facility is particularly suitable location to support the increased ventilator production because it is already equipped with a large Class 100,000 Clean Room to allow for manufacturing in a sterile environment, in addition to performing high volume assembly including injection molding and precision laser welding. Additionally, Schumer, Gillibrand, and Morelle emphasized that not only is the Rochester facility well equipped to produce medical equipment, but also that the Rochester Auto Industry workforce is also eager and willing to contribute to the COVID-19 fight, as the leadership of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 1097 informed the Senators. The UAW Local 1097 represents Rochester’s over 800 hourly union workforce, manpower that should not be wasted in the midst of a global crisis, the Representatives said.

“GM is gearing up to contribute to the COVID-19 fight, and our Rochester workforce is eager to help,” said Senator Schumer. “That kind of enthusiasm for serving the country and New York, which has 5 percent of cases worldwide, should not be ignored. GM’s Rochester plant is ready to go as soon as they get the word. In a fight against a pandemic where decisive action and speed is of upmost importance, there is no time to be wasted. I urge GM to locate its ventilator production at its Rochester plant, providing New York and the rest of the country with life-saving medical equipment ASAP.”

“In the midst of a crisis, New Yorkers are leaning into their values and I’m proud to see the Rochester workforce jump into the fight against the coronavirus pandemic,” said Senator Gillibrand. “Locating GM’s ventilator production at its Rochester plant would save lives. Already equipped for sterile manufacturing and located near the center of the nation’s epidemic, Rochester and its workforce are prepared to answer the call.”  

“Our community has always come together during times of crisis to help those in need—and we are ready to step up and do our part to fight the global COVID-19 pandemic,” said Congressman Joe Morelle. “GM’s Rochester plant is uniquely poised to produce much-needed ventilators and help save lives in our community and across the country. We need to utilize every resource available to address this public health emergency, which is why I urge GM to act swiftly and begin its ventilator production in Rochester immediately.”

The Representatives’ push comes after GM’s announcement on March 20th that it would be joining with Ventec Life Systems (Ventec) in order to produce ventilators needed to treat COVID-19 infected patients with respiratory complications. The partnership allows Ventec access to GM’s logistics, purchasing, and manufacturing expertise, vastly increasing Ventec’s capacity to produce ventilators and send them to COVID-19 frontlines.

With over $200 million in upgrades in recent years, GM’s Rochester facility is the ideal location to mass-produce state-of-the-art medical equipment, Schumer, Gillibrand, and Morelle reasoned. It is the same facility that invented mechanical fuel injection and refined hydrogen fuel cell technology, proving that GM’s Rochester plant has historically been a place of innovation and demonstrated the ability to deliver results for consumers. The Representatives are confident that it will continue that legacy of excellence in the COVID-19 fight.

Dan Maloney, President UAW local 1097 said, “The women and men of UAW local 1097 are ready to help out in any way that we can to make life better during this pandemic. We will answer the call to produce medical equipment that is in short supply and so desperately needed at this time. Be assured we will do all in our power to help keep our community and our Nation safe during this global crisis.”

As of March 23, cases of COVID-19 have topped 32,000 in the U.S., with almost half, over 15,000, in New York state alone. Approximately 13% of positive New York cases are being hospitalized, 24% of which require hospital ICU bed and possibly ventilators.

Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, and Congressman Morelle’s letter to General Motors can be found below:

Dear Ms. Barra,

As General Motors begins efforts to increase production of ventilators and other products to help in our nation’s response to COVID-19, we urge you to consider locating some of this production at the General Motors Rochester NY Components plant.  The over 1.75 million sq ft Rochester facility is uniquely equipped with a large Class 100,000 Clean Room that can be purposed to manufacture items that require a more sterile environment, as well as other capabilities to perform high volume assembly including injection molding and precision laser welding. 

The leadership of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 1097 which encompasses Rochester’ over 800 hourly union workforce have apprised us of their desire to perform this work and contribute to our nation’s efforts to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.   GM’s quality award winning team in Rochester, with its proven track record of producing quality parts, has long demonstrated its capacity to deliver for GM and its customers and now stands ready to do the same for our nation’s hospitals, medical personnel, and first responders.  This same Rochester facility that invented mechanical fuel injection in the 1950's, quadrajet carburation in the 1960's, and refined hydrogen fuel cell technology in the 1990's, can continue to innovate to help meet today’s COVID-19 response challenges. 

We appreciate GM’s efforts to leverage its manufacturing facilities and expertise to support our nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, such as GM’s March 20th announcement to join with Ventec Life Systems.   This will enable Ventec to leverage GM’s logistics, purchasing and manufacturing expertise to ramp up production of ventilators to supply our nation’s hospitals.  As you begin this work, we encourage you to look to GM’s Rochester facility.  With more than $200 million in upgrades in recent years this facility is ISO -14001 certified and boosts a hard-working, productive workforce that is second to none.  Rochester is strongly suited to enable GM to quickly ramp up production of ventilators and other products needed in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. 

We appreciate your consideration of this request and thank you and General Motors for your efforts to aid in our nation’s response work. 




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