Employment at the Volvo Trucks North America plant in Pulaski County will top 2,000 as laid-off workers are recalled to handle a production increase starting this month.
Some 300 workers will be brought back, Volvo spokesman Jim McNamara said. He said he didn’t know exactly when the first workers would return, but he said the production increase was slated to begin during the second week in April and employees are being called back as needed.
The recall announcement was made to Volvo workers on April 2.
The plant turns out an average of 44 Volvo trucks per day and will increase to 56 by the end of April. An even bigger jump will come on the plant’s Mack truck line, from an average of 18 to 43 trucks per day. Volvo purchased Mack Trucks in 2001, closed a Mack plant in Winnsboro, SC, and moved the work to the Dublin plant during the last quarter of 2002.
McNamara said the production increases are in line with the company’s plans and expectations when it decided to move the Mack production line to Virginia. The 293-acre site is Volvo’s only North American manufacturing facility.
Customer demand plays a role, too. He said Volvo’s new VN model, which went into production last November, has generated more than 6,000 orders. The VN model meets the new federal emissions standards for diesel engines that became effective last fall.
Volvo announced a recall of about 140 employees last April to handle an increase in truck orders, which may have been related to a rush to buy vehicles before the new emission standards kicked in last October.
The plant today has about 1,750 employees. About 700 workers will remain on the recall list after these 300 are brought back. The company completed a $148-million expansion in 2000, assisted by $6 million for infrastructure improvements as part of a state and local package to keep the plant in Virginia.
Other incentives are tied to Volvo’s employment figures. The plant hit a high of 3,225 employees in late 1999, but a slowdown in demand after that led to a series of layoffs. The plant must reach an employment figure of about 3,700 to trigger most of the other incentives.