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Factory workers at GE Appliance Park want closure amid COVID-19

LOUISVILLE, Ky. —

Spokespeople with GE Appliances have said they’ve taken steps to protect employees at GE Appliance Park amid COVID-19. But many factory workers and their families told us their efforts aren’t good enough, and lives are in danger.    

“I’ve tried everything in the world to protect my dad and I can’t,” said Madelyn Jewell. Her father has worked at GE Appliance Park for 25 years. 

Through tears, Jewell said her heart breaks for her hero. 

“In a time when we’re not even allowed to meet for funerals why does my dad have to risk his life to make a dishwasher,” she said.

It comes as Governor Beshear has allowed manufacturers like GE Appliances, a unit of China-based Haier, to remain open.

As a student of health at the University of Kentucky, training to be a physician’s assistant, Jewell said she knows the risk. 

“We’re being told to stay healthy at home, but my dad doesn’t get to stay healthy at home,” she said. “Right now my dad is worried, we’re all worried.”

She said she’s upset that her dad, and thousands of his coworkers, are back at work making appliances at GE Appliance Park. 

Last week, the factory was shut down for new cleaning and safety measures to prevent coronavirus. A spokesperson with GE Appliances, said they adjusted workspaces to achieve social distancing. Where that’s not possible, they’re using plastic dividers. Workers now must get their temperatures taken when they enter. There’s also a more rigorous cleaning process. 


“They’re not taking it serious,” said factory worker Edward Wallace.

He FaceTimed with us outside GE Appliance Park during his 20-minute break, saying conditions are perilous.

Factory workers have been giving us an inside look, showing shower curtains separating work stations, empty dispensers of hand sanitizer, along with restrooms and factory floors. One woman sent us a video that she said showed people leaving work Monday evening and not social distancing.  

“They didn’t clean the buildings they said they were going to clean,” Wallace said. 

Jewell told us the risk of GE Appliance Park staying open outweighs the benefit. “Families don’t deserve this, those people go home to people,” she said. 

Factory workers told us their company is putting wealth over health. But a spokesperson with GE Appliances said health is a top priority.

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