One thousand new jobs are rolling off the line at the Belvidere Daimler-Chrysler assembly plant. The company has officially confirmed the addition of a third shift.
One thousand new jobs will be added that will allow the plant to operate 24 hours a day for the first time in plant history. Company officials say many of those jobs will be filled locally. The success of the new Dodge Caliber motivated Chrysler to pursue a third shift. The plant currently employs 2,600 workers. The new hires will bring that number to well over 3,500.
Starting a third shift benefits potential employees as well as the local economy. Consider what adding that many workers making a good wage contributes to area businesses. The jobs will help the retail, entertainment and food industries.
Many plant workers even commute from outside of Belvidere, helping to spread the extra money throughout the region. But the announcement of a third shift will likely mean more than 1,000 jobs. The extra shift could mean an increased demand on parts suppliers, leading to perhaps more job creation in Belvidere.
But union leaders and some plant employees say they are concerned about Chrysler's quick move to a third shift. United Autoworkers Local 1268 president Tom Littlejohn says he has a lot of questions.
Littlejohn says he wants to know how long the hiring and training processes take, and what will happen to part-time and seasonal workers. Littlejohn says some of those employees say they've waited for years to find a permanent position.