By GRACE WYLER
As the summer launch of the Chevrolet Cruze approaches, about 600 temporary workers will begin working at the General Motors complex here to help with the transition.
The first group of about 90 temporary workers gathered for an orientation at United Auto Workers Local 112 union hall Monday.
All the temporary workers are scheduled to work in the East Complex assembly plant to help support the launch of the Cruze and fill in during vacation season, said Jim Graham, president of UAW Local 1112. The workers will be phased in over the next few weeks, he said.
Some of the temporary workers will fill in at the assembly plant’s body shop as permanent workers transition to the new high-tech body shop at the West Complex, part of GM’s $350 million investment in the Lords- town complex.
Already, 90 workers from the assembly plant have transferred to the new body shop, where the Cruze will be built, said David Green, president of UAW Local 1714.
Other temporary workers will step in while full-time workers are trained for Cruze production and other jobs, said Glenn Johnson, vice president of UAW Local 1112.
The temporary workers are chosen from a list of people referred by union members, Johnson said. Some may have worked at the plant before, he said.
It is not certain how long the plant will use the temporary workers, but some likely will stay on until the end of the year, Johnson said.
GM has said it will re-evaluate employment numbers at the Lordstown complex in December, he said.
Temporary worker Antwan Chilton of Youngstown said he hopes the job turns into a permanent position. Chilton also was called on as a temporary worker when the plant started a third shift in summer 2008.
“It is a good job to get into,” Chilton said. “The only bad thing about it is you never know when you’ll get laid off.”
The 600 temporary workers are in addition to 1,200 full-time workers who are being hired for the new third shift.
Some of those workers already have been called back, and the remainder will come from other GM plants around the country, Johnson said.
The national transfers will start arriving in May.