Alstom's turbine operation in Chattanooga is reversing employee cutbacks, with plans to add about 60 more jobs through September at the plant.
The jobs are related to gas turbine production at the Riverfront Parkway facility, said Alstom spokeswoman Fallon McLoughlin. She said Alstom has shops in Richmond, Va., and Jupiter, Fla., and the Chattanooga facility is working with those locations.
The addition of the new jobs will put the company's turbine plant at more than 170 workers, she said.
The turbine factory, which opened in 2010, had been slashing jobs. In March 2013, it trimmed 80 positions because of lack of orders for nuclear power components.
A planned-for nuclear resurgence, which the $300 million plant was built to tap, has been slow to come about. Officials have blamed the Fukushima, Japan, nuclear power plant accident.
J.Ed. Marston, the Chattanooga Area Chamber of Commerce's vice president of marketing, lauded the new jobs, citing the shift in the energy industry that had prompted the company to trim its employee headcount.
"We're delighted to see the company pivoting and taking advantage of rising market demand for gas turbines," he said. "These are highly skilled, well-paid jobs."
Alstom also employs more than 300 workers at an adjacent boiler operation, which has seen a slow down in that business, too. In February, Alstom announced a furlough for nearly a month of most of its workers at the boiler facility, which builds parts for the coal-fired power industry.
Then, the company cited a consolidation in its operations in response to sluggish equipment sales.
In addition, Alstom cut five positions at its boiler service tubing distribution center in Chattanooga.
The new hiring at the Chattanooga turbine plant comes as Paris, France-based Alstom could be acquired.
Siemens is in talks with Mitsubishi Heavy Industries over a joint bid for the energy assets of Alstom.
Earlier, General Electric offered to buy the company. The French government sought better offers to preserve jobs and the country's energy independence, pressuring Alstom to also open its books to Siemens.
But GE last month strengthened its position with a pledge to create 1,000 new jobs in France, winning recognition from Paris that it had made a more acceptable offer.
Marston said it's too hard to say at this time how an acquisition might affect Chattanooga.
"From our perspective, we support Alstom or whatever company is operating it at the fullest capacity they can with the most jobs as possible," he said.
Contact Mike Pare at email@example.com or 423-757-6318.
Mike Pare, the deputy Business editor at the Chattanooga Times Free Press, has worked at the paper for 27 years. In addition to editing, Mike also writes Business stories and covers Volkswagen, economic development and manufacturing in Chattanooga and the surrounding area. In the past he also has covered higher education. Mike, a native of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., received a bachelor’s degree in communications from Florida Atlantic University. he worked at the Rome News-Tribune before ...