GM to begin taking applications to work at Spring Hill

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

General Motors Co. will begin taking applications Wednesday for hundreds of entry-level hourly positions at its Spring Hill Assembly Plant in Tennessee, which is adding production of the new 2017 Cadillac XT5 (SRX).

The carmaker said it will begin to accept applications at 8 a.m. central time Wednesday to grow its hourly hiring pool for the facility, according to a posting Tuesday on the UAW-GM Facebook page. Jobs are expected to start in early 2016, the posting said.

Those interested in applying can only do so online at and must have a valid email address. Candidates must be 18 years or older with a high school diploma or equivalent and must pass drug testing and a background check, according to the Facebook posting. The website will “remain active until hiring pool needs are met.”

Hiring is expected at least in the hundreds. .

GM is looking to hire about 1,100 for the plant in total, UAW Local 1853 President Tim Stannard said.

GM Spring Hill plant spokeswoman Kristy Bergstrom said the carmaker is not sharing specific hiring figures for “competitive reasons.” Bergstrom, in an email, said the plant is hiring for the XT5 and a second vehicle to be added that has not yet been identified. Timing on the second vehicle also has not been confirmed by GM.

Stannard said much of the hiring is slated to be done in January.

UAW Local 1853 shop chairman Mike Herron’s website also confirms the hiring pool opens Wednesday for new manufacturing jobs at the plant.

The hiring represents a major milestone for the city and facility, which idled assembly production in 2009; some 2,000 workers were laid off and hundreds of veteran GM workers who took jobs at other GM plants at that time still desire to return to the plant and their families who stayed behind in Spring Hill.

“There are lots of people looking” to come back to Spring Hill, Stannard said.

He said the local union is hoping during contract negotiations between the UAW and GM something will be worked out to allow that to happen. Most jobs open at Spring Hill are entry-level positions and workers who left Spring Hill and want to return are veterans, or tier-one workers.

Bergstrom declined to comment “due to ongoing international and local UAW negotiations.”

GM and the union previously have said that those who had UAW contractual rights to return to Spring Hill after their transfers have been provided the opportunity to .

“We are still in negotiations and discussing this issue,” UAW GM Vice President Cindy Estrada said in a statement Tuesday.

GM worker William Fraser, 54, said he is “angry and frustrated” that the company plans to hire from the public; he transferred from Spring Hill nearly six years ago and has been trying to return since.

Fraser and his family still live near the plant in Thompson Station, Tennessee, and Fraser carpools with others from the area to make the hour-and-a-half each way drive to GM’s Bowling Green Assembly Plant in Kentucky.

“Before they hire even one person off the street, they should bring us all back,” Fraser said.

He estimates 200 people alone at the Bowling Green plant want to return to Spring Hill. Other former Spring Hill workers have transferred to plants such as the company’s Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant, Fort Wayne Assembly Plant in Indiana and Wentzville Assembly Plant in Missouri and also await a return.

In August 2014, when GM announced the plant would land the Cadillac crossover, now built in Mexico, Estrada said the union and GM were “in discussions” about the situation with Spring Hill veteran workers who want to return to the plant.

“No one wants to see families separated, so if we can find a way, we’re all going to try to,” she said then. “We’re just not there yet.”

GM previously announced $350 million in investment at Spring Hill for two midsize vehicles, which were expected to create or retain about 1,800 jobs. The Cadillac is one of the vehicles.

Analysts believe the second vehicle will be a smaller version of the current GMC Acadia, which would move from the Lansing Delta Township Assembly Plant.

The former Saturn plant that opened in 1990, about 35 miles south of Nashville, has about 1,849 workers today including 1,509 hourly employees.

The plant currently produces four-cylinder versions of the Chevrolet Equinox, supporting production of the popular crossover at two other factories. It is GM’s largest North American facility and includes engine and stamping plants, and injection molding and painting operations.

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