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AM General-Mercedes contract will give jobs to UAW Local 5 workers

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AM General will soon bring hundreds of jobs to our area after they signed a multi-year contract with Mercedes-Benz to produce the R-class vehicle.

The United Auto Workers Local 5 will be filling all of those jobs, according to union officials.

The president of the UAW Local 5 says the jobs will go to laid-off workers with most seniority first.

"The length of service you have with the company and the UAW," says President Bruce Schweizer. "We recall people by their length of service."

Schweizer speculates those jobs will be filled sometime between May and July; he says it will take quite some time to train employees for the Mercedes-Benz R-class production.

"The amount of elements in the Mercedes-Benz, the quality, the benchmark," says Schweizer. "It will take a great number of hours to train to do that."

Dozens of workers came to the UAW Local 5 meeting to hear about opportunities at AM General including former AM General employee Ramona Stassel.

"I started in 2002, worked pretty good for 9 and a half years then there was a lay off with quite a few of us," says Ramona Stassel. "We're hoping with this new Mercedes SUV contract, it will get everybody called back."

Several people at the meeting, including Tom Helms, have fond memories of working at AM General.

"I've been coming to meetings for quite awhile now hoping that something big would take us, bring us back to AM General," says Tom Helms. "It's a great place to work."

Schweizer says the exact number of jobs and length of contract are still unknown. He says based on the length of negotiations between AM General and Mercedes, he speculates the contract to be 2-6 years. Schweizer says that information is likely to be available as we near closer to the summer when production is expected to begin.

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