GM to add 1,200 jobs, second shift at Detroit-Hamtramck

Melissa Burden
The Detroit News

This story has been updated to reflect the fact there are enough applicants to fulfill job openings

General Motors Co. said Thursday it will add more than 1,200 jobs and nearly double the number of employees at its Detroit-Hamtramck Assembly Plant as it adds a long-awaited second shift early next year.

The Detroit automaker said hiring is under way for the shift and the plant will have about 2,800 people when hiring is complete.

GM said the shift is necessary to meet demand for five vehicles the plant produces.

A Detroit-Hamtramck spokeswoman said the automaker believes it has enough applicants to fulfill the 1,200 it will hire. GM says applicants can check under Metro Detroit postings in the future to see if new jobs are posted.

The company is expected to add about 40 salaried workers and the rest will be entry-level hourly workers, plant spokeswoman Courtney Zemke said.

“We’ve got a quick turnaround to start the second shift in the first quarter,” Zemke said.

GM previously had announced it would add a second shift at the plant in May 2011, but that never happened. GM spokesman Bill Grotz said market conditions did not materialize at the time to add the shift, but the company is confident in market demand for the vehicles at the plant now and the necessity of a second shift.

Detroit-Hamtramck last had a second shift at the end of 2007.

Workers at the Detroit-Hamtramck build the Chevrolet Volt plug-in hybrid electric vehicle, Chevrolet Impala, Chevrolet Malibu and Cadillac ELR.

The plant will add the Cadillac CT6 flagship luxury sedan in early 2016.

A year ago, GM had said production of the CT6 was expected to begin in the fourth quarter this year.

Another vehicle, which GM has yet to name or the timing of its arrival, is slated to come Detroit-Hamtramck as part of a previously announced investment in April 2014. Several analysts expect that vehicle is the Buick LaCrosse and expect it could come to the plant in mid-2016.

“The workforce at Detroit-Hamtramck is second to none,” UAW Local 22 Shop Chairman Don LaForest said in a statement. “We appreciate the opportunity to expand our UAW-GM family.”

Grotz said the timing of the announcement has nothing to do with negotiations with the UAW. Final ratification results were announced Thursday by the UAW for Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV workers and the union announced it will focus negotiations with GM next.

Grotz said GM needed to announce the second shift now to ensure it has hiring in place.

“Six months out, you’ve got to begin recruiting staffing and the workforce,” he said.

Last week, GM announced it would begin taking applications for hundreds of entry-level hourly positions at its Spring Hill Assembly Plant in Tennessee for jobs that will begin in early 2016. That plant is adding production of the new 2017 Cadillac XT5 (formerly SRX).

The Detroit-Hamtramck plant, which opened in 1985, currently has about 1,400 hourly and 200 salaried employees. GM has invested $1 billion over the past five years into the 4.1 million-square-foot facility.