GM back-pedals after workers blast “Get Back to Work” order

Source: Hot Air

Last Friday, GM was all about “back in the saddle” time, announcing that, before the end of the year, corporate staff would be expected to be “on campus” (read that as AT THE OFFICE) 3 days a week, and they gave them lead time to plan accordingly.

General Motors has told its corporate staff they’ll soon need to work in the office at least three days a week, marking a shift away from the company’s flexible-working policy.

“Employees who transitioned to working remotely some or all of the time during the pandemic will pivot to a more regular in-person work cycle, and they will now be expected to work three days on-campus each week,” Maria Raynal, a GM spokesperson, told Insider, adding that the new policy will come into effect later this year.

…Raynal told Insider that GM was changing its policy to drive “collaboration, enterprise mindset, and impact” as the company prepares to launch as many as 22 electric vehicles by 2023.

Okay. Sounds reasonable. They didn’t say next week, and the pandemic is OVER

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…which was the reason for everyone scattering to the sixes and nines in the first place. Myriad economic challenges are facing the automobile industry, so, taken altogether, having people in situ vice emails, IMs and the Zoom meetings everyone despises, while collaborating makes perfect sense. Get back to work, yeah!

…In her note to employees on Friday, Barra wrote that the COVID-19 pandemic has improved dramatically allowing for a safe return to the office and GM’s push to transform the company requires more in-person collaboration.

Or…not. Like, less than 24 hours later and…YOICKS. Hissy fit city.

GM steps back on new return-to-office policy after backlash from salaried workers

…On Tuesday, CEO Mary Barra sent out a note to the salaried workforce offering an apology of sorts for the timing of putting out a new policy late in the day Friday saying that employees would have to return to working in the office three days a week.

She said now that GM’s plan still will include a more regular, in-person presence, but it will not implement any changes to its return-to-the-office policy this year as the company continues to listen to employee feedback. The plan still will ask employees to work in-office three days each week.

“The initial letter was a notification and the purpose of the update is to provide clarification and additional details,” GM spokeswoman Maria Raynal said Tuesday. “The timing has shifted slightly, however, the overall plan has not changed.

Damage control?!

General Motors is conducting damage control around its return-to-office plans after a Friday afternoon message to employees spurred backlash and confusion.

Tell me how this works (WORK being the operative word) again? Because I’m a little fuzzy on the “blowing the company off” part, being a “pay my salary for a job, so I do what that means” kinda gal. I know sitting home is convenient, but the perq GM had instituted making all that possible – and, truth be told, helping the company stay on its feet at the same time – was always a temporary adjustment to extraordinary times, and specifically called a “philosophy” vice a “policy” for just that reason. It was always temporary.

But now being asked to return to the office, even for a reduced workweek with plenty of notice to organize the details of one’s return, as a salaried employee, is being “blindsided.”

…GM faced immediate resistance from some salaried employees over the new mandate it put forth late Friday. GM had initially said that policy would start later this year. Some GM employees told the Free Press the news blindsided them.

“You can probably imagine what the general mood is,” one GM salaried employee said after the news. This worker asked to not be named for fear of retaliation for speaking to the media. “The company has been talking a good game about Work Appropriately since this all began, and we were completely blindsided by this news.”

You just can’t stress the blindsided enough. *rolleyes* And, from the Detroit Free Press again, rolling their eyes is pretty close to what the guys who’ve been going to work every day are doing at the office folks.

…Returning salaried workers to the office will create equity across GM’s workforce, said Marick Masters, a business professor at Wayne State University.

…”You can get a sense of what’s working and what’s not working and make adjustments,” Masters said. “I think most people will realize this is something that they have to do and it’s more a sense of equity because you have blue-collar workers who have to show up every day.”

Some of GM’s workers on the factory floor echo that sentiment. They characterize a return to office as “putting COVID behind us,” said Eric Welter, UAW Local 598 shop chairman at GM’s Flint Assembly plant where GM makes its Chevrolet Silverado and GMC Sierra heavy-duty pickups.

“We always worked for the whole thing,” Welter told the Free Press, referring to hourly workers returning to the line after an eight-week shutdown during the peak of the pandemic in 2020. “This might feel like justice. There’s not a lot of sympathy for them and I don’t know how you run a company from home?

Nope. Blue collar, white collar. Not a lot of sympathy here, either.