Sunday, March 30, 2014

General Motors Cover-ups Result in Motor Vehicle Deaths, and Workplace Abuses in Colombia

Media reports are exposing that GM was aware for over a decade of a design flaw in 1.6 million vehicles which led to upwards of 300 fatalities before announcing a recall of those vehicles.  Though GM re-engineered the part in 2007, it didn't issue a recall until February, 2014.  Meanwhile, complaints were piling up from drivers who suddenly lost engine power causing the power steering, brakes, and airbags to fail.  12 deaths have already been attributed to a faulty ignition switch.  GM explained that it didn't recall the cars because drivers could still maneuver them manually and even turn the ignition back on!

How GM blew off the complaints, injuries, and deaths was no surprise to a group of ex-GM autoworkers from a Chevrolet assembly plant in Bogota, Colombia.   They, too, were victims of GM's disregard for safety - not on the road - but in the workplace.  Workers at their factory routinely suffered disabling injuries to their spines, shoulders and wrists from the intense work pace, 60-80 hour work weeks, the very physical nature of the work, and lack of workplace health and safety standards.  This was particularly true for workers who operated bulky, heavy welding guns, or manually lifted car bodies, or carried transaxles on their backs.


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