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UAW says GM plans to build turbo diesel engine in Flint could add up to 200 jobs

(WJRT)
Published: Jan. 17, 2018 at 11:38 PM EST
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(01/17/2018) - General Motors announced a new engine for its 2019 Chevrolet Silverado light duty pickup trucks will be built at its engine plant in Flint.

"It's the first time that I know of, in Flint, Michigan, that a turbo diesel, a true turbo diesel Duramax will be built here," said Steve Dawes, the Assistant Director for UAW Region 1 D.

"The future is Instead of having 300 or 400 people work at a place, now you're going to have 700, that's big news," Dawes said.

Preparations for the new engine line have been underway for a while.

GM said in 2015 it was investing more than $250 million dollar at the plant for the new line.

Dawes said the high feature engines being produced at the plant were moved to Romulus to make room for the new engine line.

He said the 180-to-200 jobs that will be added will be good ones.

"The majority of them, not all of them, will be full time jobs, down the road our agreement allows them to hire in at a certain rate and grow into the top rate," Dawes said.

Relocated employees will have first dibs on the positions.

News that the turbo diesel engines will be built in Flint spread quickly.

Applegate Chevrolet Sales Manager Daniel George explained why diesel trucks are growing in popularity.

"Good gas mileage," George said,"more torque, they seem to be the work horse engine where they tow more."

"The demand for diesel engines right now is pretty great in our 25-hundred models," he added,"I think it's going to help the light duty sales as well."

Right now the engine plant employs about 480 workers.

The small gas engines used in the Chevrolet Cruze and Volt are produced on the south side of the plant.

The addition of new jobs is resonating with Anastasia Pirkovic, the owner of Capitol Coney Island.

"It means more coney's out the door," she said.

She's been feeding plant employees since 2005.

"We are very excited, hopefully there will be some stability, you know in the past, with GM, you know, they come and go. But hopefully this is a mark for everybody, a good, good positive notion that they're here to stay, and some positivity throughout the community too saying that they're here with us," she said.

No word on the exact date that they'll begin building the machines.

Dawes said they're still waiting on some key pieces of equipment.