BY ALEXANDER WILLIS
Well over 200 workers are expected to join the ranks of the Spring Hill General Motors plant staff following the announcement that the first-ever electric Cadillac, the Cadillac XT6 SUV, will be manufactured in the city.
“I would say that it’s going to well exceed 200 people … we’re very thrilled,” said chairman of the Spring Hill chapter of the Unified Auto Workers, Mike Herron. “The membership here is ecstatic, we’re very happy that the product is being launched in our location, [and] I think there’s a lot of reasons for that. We have a very good workforce at our location, and I couldn’t be prouder of them.”
United States Sen. Marsha Blackburn even weighed in on the announcement, saying that General Motors was “to be commended” for its decision.
“General Motors’ decision [is] further proof that Tennessee workers and our business friendly climate create a great place for jobs growth,” Blackburn said in a statement. “GM [is] to be commended for choosing Tennessee, and we look forward to seeing the increase in production.”
The announcement comes in the wake of General Motors’ announcement of its plans to to cut more than 14,000 white and blue collar jobs, as well as its intentions to close five separate plants across North America.
Herron had previously called the layoffs “devastating” for those affected, but that this recent announcement would be a saving grace for many of those affected.
“This announcement has also given an opportunity for some people that otherwise would have been unemployed from some of these car plants that they’ve announced a reduction in manufacturing capacity,” Herron said. “This has given an opportunity to those folks to be able to come to the Spring Hill plant and be able to be employed, [and] learn how good it is to live here. It’s a great place to work, it’s a great place to live.”
A major factor in General Motors’ multiple plant closures and layoffs, Herron believes, is the advancement of technology. Herron said that as the industry begins to prepare for electric and hydrogen-powered vehicles to become the standard, General Motors may continue to take cost-cutting measures by way of cutting its staff. Thankfully, Herron said, the Spring Hill plant is well-equipped to produce the car of the future, today.
“We have a very technologically advanced plant; we can build several different products on the same line, and we continue today to pursue new products for our location, because we have the ability to be able to make them,” Herron said. “We can build anything the customer wants. If the customer wants electric, if the customer wants hydrogen fuel cell, [or] if gasoline combustible engine is what the customer wants, we can build that.”
The new employees, most of which will be absorbed from the General Motors plant in Ohio, are expected to begin work in the coming weeks.
“This is all good news for our plant,” Herron said. “I couldn’t be prouder of the workforce in Spring Hill, because they’ve worked very hard to earn this.”