Getting Back to Work

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This week has been full of job opportunities, especially with Daimler Chrysler expanding, but how many jobs are really up for grabs, and who gets first pick?

In June of 2001 the Chrysler plant went from two shifts to one. That move caused about 600 workers to be let go. Now it's those former employees who will be first to come back to a familiar place.

UAW President C.D. Graham says, "Every person that was laid off their might be a few in the skilled trade area that may not, but as far as the production that had lost their job, they will be back."

Since the announcement on Wednesday, UAW President C.D. Graham has been getting phone call after phone call. Former employees want to know when they can come back to work and others just want a job. Three new vehicles mean at least 12 to 15 years of job security.

Graham says, "This is the first new product line brought to the United States ever. Daimler Chrysler took it to Mexico and Canada. We'll be the first one with new cars in the state."

Laid-off workers should all be back by March of 2006 and their responsibilities will change. This time around they will be trained to multi-task.

Connie Montalvo lost her job in September and is excited to get back to work.

She says, "I think the Neon has seen its time. It is going to be great to start building something new. This will be nice all of the changes."

Graham says, "It will be a team concept with team leaders. People will have to learn four to five different jobs versus the one job.”

This $419 million investment will eventually add a third shift, and that will mean new jobs. People come from Wisconsin, Iowa and even farther to work at one of the most efficient auto plants in the world.

Once the second shift gets back to work, the Belvidere Daimler Chrysler plant will employ about 2,500 people.