Complaints leveled at Roper plant amid coronavirus as company says employee health, safety is 'No. 1 priority'

Staff file photo / Roxanne Adams performs tests on stoves as they move down the assembly line at the GE Appliances Roper plant in LaFayette, Georgia, in this file photo.

Worker complaints over conditions at the GE Appliances Roper plant in LaFayette, Georgia, amid the coronavirus have drawn a sharp reaction from an aide to former United Nations ambassador Andrew Young.

Tricia Harris, executive aide to the former United States ambassador and Atlanta mayor, said she lives in Walker County, has heard from relatives who work at the plant and seen employee worries on social media about close working conditions at the large oven-production factory.

"They should close the plant," she said. "They're putting people at risk. I don't want anyone to die."

Harris, in an email to GE Appliances CEO Kevin Nolan, requested an "immediate shut down" of the facility that typically employs more than 2,000 making ovens and stoves. A petition on had 1,777 signatures on Wednesday afternoon.

However, a GE Appliances spokeswoman said the health and safety of its employees is "our number one priority."