Workers at GM’s Spring Hill manufacturing plant received some good news Wednesday morning: The company is investing nearly $800 million at the site. They were told this secures their jobs and leads to hundreds of new hires.
Governor Bill Haslam attended the announcement, where he confirmed that the mysterious $30 million business incentive that was passed with next year's state budget will be helping to fund the plant. The state should receive a strong return on its investment, he said, because local hires are the priority for the new project.
Mike Herron was also pleased with the announcement. He's the chairman of the local United Auto Workers Union and has worked at the Spring Hill plant since it opened under Saturn in 1990.
"It’s a very significant day for the workers," says Herron. "It gives them a peace of mind that they’ll be able to go ahead and work at this location for the foreseeable future."
The $790 million investment will help support current Cadillac XT5 SUV production, along with funding a new high-efficiency V8 engine line.
"It takes a lot of employees to do that, and we’re hiring off the street right now," Herron says.
And he means it: Herron says GM will not be relocating employees from other plants, as they have done before. The plan instead is to hire 792 Tennesseans to fill those new positions.
Herron says the big announcement comes at a rare slow moment for the plant: Recent earthquakes in Japan have stopped supply, causing brief closures at a number of GM facilities. But Spring Hill should be up and running again in the next two weeks, with preparations for the new engine program beginning immediately.