(WASHINGTON, D.C.) – Congressman Jamie Raskin (MD-08) today joined U.S. Senators Chris Van Hollen and Ben Cardin and Congressmen C.A. Dutch Ruppersberger, David Trone, John P. Sarbanes, Anthony G. Brown, and Steny H. Hoyer (all D-Md.) in sending letters to President Trump and General Motors (GM) Chairman and CEO Mary Barra urging them to reopen the GM plant in White Marsh, Maryland. In their letter, the Members stress 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.
“On April 8, GM received a contract to build 30,000 ventilators under the Defense Production Act,” the Lawmakers state in their letter to President Trump. “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.”
The White Marsh GM plant is well-positioned to increase the supply of ventilators in an area that needs aid. The Baltimore-Washington corridor has been declared a hotspot by the federal government, and Maryland as a whole has seen 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 will be available and easily accessible in an area with multiple hotspots,” the Members go on to note.
In their letter to GM, the Lawmakers emphasize worker safety and call for worker-developed safety protocols. They write, “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.”
The full text of the letter to President Trump is available here.