General Motors is investing $61 million so that it could start producing the Chevrolet Equinox small sport-utility vehicle at its facility in Spring Hill, Tenn., in the second half of 2012. With this project, GM will create 685 jobs, of which 91 are salaried. According to UAW President Bob King, the fact that assembly work has returned at the plant for the first time since 2009 is proof of the cooperation between the union and the car companies.
King said that he will draw attention to the work expansion at Spring Hill as he continues to work to organize non-union Japanese, German and South Korean auto plants that are primarily located in the U.S. South.
Cathy Clegg, head of labor relations at GM, said that Spring Hill is known for being one of GM’s “most innovative and flexible plants." Last September, GM announced broad outlines of plans for the expanded work when it entered a four-year labor deal with the UAW.
Under the deal, GM is expected to add new projects at many plants such as in Spring Hill instead of raising the salaries of veteran union auto workers. GM said that the second phase of the expansion of the Spring Hill plant is the addition of a mid-sized vehicle by 2014 for the 2015 model year.
GM has yet to name this vehicle. For this product, GM plans to hire around 1,196 workers to start work in 2013. GM said that it will make an investment of $183 million for this product at Spring Hill. Of the 1,881 jobs that will be added to the Tennessee plant, a total of 1,684 will be workers represented by the UAW.