Because of the struggle for new workers, General Motors is considering changing its employee screening practices. The Detroit Free Press article says the Detroit-based automaker is considering removing the requirement to screen potential employees for marijuana use. The discussion comes at a time when one of GM’s most important factories, which makes the Silverado pickup, is struggling to find temporary workers for the summer.
Two UAW shop chairs, Eric Welter and Rich LeTourneau, who head the unions at GM Flint Assembly and Fort Wayne Assembly, respectively, believe the company’s marijuana testing is limiting and discouraging potential employees. GM needs to hire 450 part-time temporary workers at the Flint, Michigan plant and another 275 for the Fort Wayne, Indiana plant. GM spokesman Dan Flores declined to disclose details, although he said the recommendation was “under discussion within the company.”
Medical marijuana is legal in 36 states, while recreational marijuana is legal in 16, including Michigan, which is home to the automaker. The GM tests use hair samples that can show even drug use a week before the test. Welter told the publication that this could scare off young job seekers who then do not show up for interviews. Another problem that makes it difficult to recruit workers is the $ 16.67 starting hourly wage specified in the union contract, which is an additional condition for the temporary status of new employees.
The struggle to find workers arises as GM and other automakers struggle to find microchips to create their products. News broke last month that GM is making pickups, including the GMC Sierra built alongside the Silverado, without Active Fuel Management (cylinder deactivation) due to parts shortages. GM rival Ford has thousands of pickups in the parking lot, awaiting assembly.