Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown calls on General Electric to use Ohio workers to produce ventilators

General Electric has provided a statement to 19 News
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, left, and ranking member Sen....
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, left, and ranking member Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, right, talk during a hearing with Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell on Capitol Hill in Washington, Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)(Susan Walsh | Source: The Associated Press)
Updated: Mar. 30, 2020 at 10:06 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) - Ohio Sen. Sherrod Brown called on General Electric to use their highly-skilled Ohio workers to produce ventilators that are in short supply and will help keep Ohioans healthy during the coronavirus crisis.

GE owns plants in Cleveland and Bucyrus, where GE workers are ready to do their part and start producing ventilators now. Brown also called on the company to protect the health of GE workers and implement enhanced policies to keep workers safe.

Brown's call follows an appeal from IUE-CWA members to GE to upscale production of ventilators and increase safety protocol.

Recently, GE announced layoffs and temporary closures at plants across the country, despite being a global leader in the production of critical medical equipment, including ventilators.

“Ohio workers are the best in the world at what they do and Ohioans are ready to get to work to ensure our healthcare providers have the ventilators they need to save lives,” said Brown in a released statement. “I’m calling on GE to put its workers in Ohio on the job and to do so in a way that protects their health and safety. Ohioans always step up in times of need, and I know GE workers in Ohio are ready to do their part.”

Brown continues leading efforts to ensure frontline healthcare workers have the supplies and resources they need to keep Ohioans safe.

Brown wrote to President Trump calling on the administration to immediately implement all Defense Production Act powers under Titles I, III, and VII as necessary to massively scale up production of testing kits, Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) such as respirators and gloves, ventilators, and other critical materials that our country needs during the coronavirus emergency.

Brown has also released a plan for addressing the shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) needed by healthcare workers on the frontline of keeping Americans healthy and safe during the coronavirus pandemic and has written to President Trump outlining several steps the administration should take immediately to address the shortage and ramp up manufacturing of these critical medical supplies.

A General Electric spokesperson sent 19 News a statement in regards to Sen. Brown calling on GE to use Ohio workers to produce ventilators.

“GE is working around the clock to increase production of much-needed medical equipment," a GE spokesperson told 19 News. "GE Healthcare has already doubled ventilator production capacity, with a plan to double it again by June, in addition to partnering with Ford Motor Company to further increase ventilator production. We continue to explore additional opportunities to support the fight against COVID-19 while continuing to support mission-critical work for our customers as well.”

Below is how GE is ramping up ventilator production:

GE Healthcare is adding employees to join manufacturing lines so that we can keep facilities open 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They also have doubled their capacity of ventilator production since the outbreak began and has plans to double it again by the end of Q2 2020.

They are sharing their technology with manufacturers across industries. For example, GE Healthcare is partnering with Ford to accelerate and scale ventilator production. Through this collaboration, GE Healthcare will provide its technical expertise and Ford will provide its technical expertise to help scale production of ventilators.

Separately, in alignment with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) guidance, GE Healthcare provides clinicians with information about how to use GE Healthcare’s existing anesthesia machines for patients requiring mechanical ventilation.

Here is how GE is joining the response:

GE Foundation is contributing to the COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund, an organization set up by the World Health Organization (WHO) and administered by the United Nations Foundation and the Swiss Philanthropy Foundation.

In their hometown of Boston, GE is contributing to Mayor Marty Walsh’s Boston Resiliency Fund, which is providing food access to the city’s in-need children, families and seniors; technology to Boston Public Schools students for remote learning; and support to first responders and healthcare workers.

GE Digital is providing utilities and manufacturers with automation software to operate from home. A free 90-day license to remote monitoring and control system is available to 20,000 utilities and factories.

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