Whirlpool, LG, GE Contend with COVID Concerns at Factories

Three of the country’s largest appliance makers have temporarily closed select plants to thwart the spread of coronavirus and allay the concerns of workers.

Whirlpool, which last week temporarily suspended operations at its Amana, Iowa, facility after an employee tested positive for COVID-19, has reportedly shut down its Findlay, Ohio dishwasher plant as well. According to local newspaper The Courier, the factory was temporarily closed last week after a worker there was diagnosed with “a presumed cased of COVID-19.” Whirlpool described the move as cautionary and is using the down time to perform a deep cleaning of the plant and locate any employees who may have been in close contact with the afflicted worker.

Separately, the company confirmed a second cased of COVID-19 at its Amana production facilities. According to a report by KCRG-TV9, the facility underwent a deep cleaning last Thursday and was scheduled to resume normal operations last night.

Similarly, LG Electronics has suspended operations for two weeks at its lone U.S. factory, a massive washer assembly plant in Clarksville, Tenn., to allow the company to sanitize the facility. According to the Clarksville Leaf Chronicle, production was paused for preventive reasons as of today and will resume on April 13. The plant’s approximately 600 workers will continue to receive full pay and benefits during the shutdown, LG spokesman John Taylor said.

Meanwhile, hundreds of factory workers staged a protest outside of GE Appliances’ Appliance Park manufacturing complex in Louisville over the weekend to express concern over returning to the assembly lines today. GE shut the plant last week for a precautionary cleansing and has either separated work stations by six feet or placed plastic dividers between them, the company said. No confirmed cases of the virus have been reported at the Louisville factories.

Elsewhere, BSH Home Appliances shut down its U.S. manufacturing facilities in New Bern, N.C., and LaFollette, Tenn., last week to mitigate the spread of the virus. The plants will remain closed until mid-April.