Gibson Guitars Factory Employees Forced to Work During Coronavirus Pandemic
Update, 7:10pm EDT: A representative for Gibson has contacted MetalSucks to inform us that the company has closed its factory is “temporarily closed as of Friday,” also adding the following: “Gibson is also working on a special plan for pay-bridge to help all of their workers during this unprecedented time.” An official statement from the company will follow.
While employees at the Nashville headquarters of Gibson Guitars were ordered to stay home starting last week, the company is forcing more than 300 factory workers to continue reporting for duty despite the rapidly spreading coronavirus pandemic.
According to Pay Day Report, many workers at the factory haven’t been given protective gear like gloves or masks, and maintaining the recommended six feet of distance between one another is not possible on the shop floor. “On the assembly line, people are working closely together. We all touch the guitars,” said one of the workers who gave their name as “Mel.” All of the factory workers enter using the same turnstile and punch the same time clock in and out.
Despite 228 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Davidson County as of Sunday morning, March 22, with an estimated hundreds of undiagnosed patients in the area due to inadequate testing, Gibson management purportedly told workers that the factory will continue producing guitars until there is a positive case of COVID-19 among workers at the plant.
Gibson has a long history of being a difficult place to work. Former owner Henry Juszkiewicz was a notoriously hard-nosed boss and was forced to sell the company in 2018, after more than 30 years, when the company sank into bankruptcy following a series of high-profile missteps that left the iconic guitar brand in turmoil. In 1985, Gibson closed its unionized factory in Kalamazoo, MI and relocated to Nashville, which does not have strong union laws; its factory workers remain non-unionized today.
Earlier today, Nashville Mayor John Cooper announced an order for people to stay in their homes starting tomorrow, March 23, at 12:01am (midnight tonight).
“I don’t think the people making the decisions are taking the responsibility seriously,” said Mel, the factory worker. “They are thinking this is a problem for New York, California, dense population, but not Middle Tennessee.”
Read more at Pay Day Report.