FLINT, Mich. -- General Motors Co.'s Flint Assembly Plant is poised to add a third shift of production if customer demand continues for the Chevrolet and GMC pickups built there, plant and union officials said today.
The plant, which builds heavy-duty and light-duty Chevy Silverado and GMC Sierra pickups, has been on maximum overtime this month, said Amy Farmer, plant manager of Flint Assembly and its sister stamping operation, the Flint Metal Center.
A third shift would require adding about 600 to 700 workers to the current 1,800 hourly work force, Farmer said.
Although the company has no immediate plans to add the shift, Farmer said she has had discussions with the UAW about the possibility, should pickup sales remain strong. “It depends on demand,” she said.
GM launched the new heavy-duty pickups in Flint in May and the light-duties a month later.
GM sold 235,530 Silverados through August, a 12 percent gain over the same eight months of 2009. It sold another 19,158 Sierras during the first eight months, a 10 percent gain over the same period last year. Industrywide, U.S. light truck sales rose 14 percent through August while overall U.S. vehicle sales increased 8 percent.
Farmer spoke on the sidelines today of a plant celebration recognizing production of the 13 millionth vehicle at Flint Assembly. It was a black, heavy-duty GMC 3500 Denali purchased by Heartbeat City owner James Stubbings, a suburban Detroit entrepreneur who specializes in restoring Chevrolet Camaros made between 1967 and 1969.
UAW Local 598 shop chairman Dana Rouse said the union is eager to add the shift. But the company and union wanted to avoid bringing on the shift, then having to drop it if truck sales flatten, Rouse said.
Instead, the plant is working two daily 10-hour shifts five days a week, Farmer said. Normal time is four days of 10-hour shifts, she said. A third shift would require a work schedule of three eight-hour shifts daily, five days a week, Farmer said.