Louisville GE technician: ’They’re putting money over safety’ during coronavirus outbreak

Louisville GE technician: ’They’re putting money over safety’ during coronavirus outbreak

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - For GE employees, the concern over the spread of the coronavirus doesn’t stop at Appliance Park.

“There is a complete lack of respect for GE technicians. They’re putting money over safety,” a GE technician told WAVE 3 News on Wednesday.

The worker fears for his job, so WAVE 3 News is not releasing his name, but he also fears the worst if he doesn’t speak up.

He said he visits around 40 houses a week to repair household appliances.

“I don’t want to stop working, I enjoy my job. I know all of us enjoy our jobs,” he said. “The right solution is to get rid of any minor convenience issue or minor cosmetic issue and reschedule those a month down the road or whatever.”

GE is pre-screening all service calls asking the customer if they’re sick, but this technician said some people aren’t honest.

“I’m finishing fixing an ice maker, and he [the customer] goes in the other room and starts hacking up a lung before finally admitting he had been sick for a week,” he said.

Appliances are considered essential right now, and a fridge not keeping food cold is considered an emergency. However, some repairs, he said, like a washing machine not connecting to WiFi or water not coming out of a refrigerator door, aren’t worth the risk.

“You’re going to lose two weeks of food and have to break quarantine, it’s an actual urgent issue. But if the handle’s loose on your fridge, it can wait a week, two weeks, it can wait a month,” he explained.

He said GE managers, though, have told concerned workers every job is essential.

“The other option is that we can stay home without pay,” he said.

GE said they have given technicians protective equipment, this technician said it’s been a slow trickle: a handful of gloves, a roll of paper towels, a Ziplock bag of Clorox wipes.

“Over the past week, we finally got masks and a whole box of nitrile gloves,” he said. “We finally got hand sanitizer a few days ago.”

Technicians have the option to reschedule an appointment if they don’t feel safe, but once the part they need is in for a customer, he said they’re told they have to complete the repair.

“I feel very unsafe, and I feel we are putting our families and customers in unnecessary danger,” he said

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