New work at Johnson Controls Northwood plant - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

New work at Johnson Controls Northwood plant

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There's been a lot of good employment news in our region tied to the auto industry in recent months. GM has added workers to it's Toledo Transmission plant and Chrysler is adding a second shift and more than 1,100 jobs at the Toledo Assembly Complex. That means more work at other local plants too.

A big expansion at the Johnson Controls plant in Northwood will be done by the end of the year and not long after the massive expansion is finished more than 100 new jobs will come on line. Union leaders hope the good news doesn't end there.

Workers at the Johnson Controls Northwood plant build seats for the Jeep Wrangler. They'll also build seats and dash panels for the new Jeep SUV that's set to roll off the lines at the Toledo Assembly Complex next year. Union Chair Wayne Truitt says that means about 100 new jobs and a 72,000 square foot expansion,"They pretty much have the outside done. They are starting to work inside and they're supposed to be finished by the end of November so we can start setting up the new lines."

The Johnson Controls Northwood plant has been doing work for Jeep since 2001, starting out with just 60 workers, "We have 245 workers now so if we add 100 new jobs that take us close to 350 and I'm looking for a third shift so that would be another 100. Is that a possibility? I do think this car is going to take off. I think it's going to be really great."

With the incredible success of the Wranglers and the high expectations for the new SUV, the head of the union that represents the Jeep workers says the Toledo Assembly Complex could be on track to build more vehicles than any other North American plant. Bruce Baumhower is president of UAW Local 12, "The opportunity to build 450,000 to 500,00 cars in Toledo a year between the two Jeep plants is right in front of us. I believe we'll get there and when we get there, suppliers like Johnson Controls will knock down even more walls and just keep on growing."

The new Toledo built Jeep SUV won't be in showrooms until next year, but Truitt says work on the seats and dash panels for it is already underway, "We're building a few seats and instrument panels right now and we're getting more parts next week so we'll start building some more. It's all hush-hush. How does it look? I guarantee you it's going to be an awesome car."

Workers are re-tooling the lines inside the Toledo Assembly Complex right now for the new Jeep. It's expected in showrooms late spring or early summer.

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