Goodyear Elects to End Tyre Production at Tyler Plant
On October 30 Goodyear announced its intention to end tyre production at its Tyler facility in the US state of Texas, ending months of speculation over the plant’s fate upon expiry of the one-year stay of execution granted by the signing of the United Steelworkers’ three-year master contract in December 2006.
Goodyear announced that production will end in January, the exact date falling some time in the first fortnight of the year. The end of tyre production will be accompanied by the loss of more than 600 of the plant’s 740 hourly jobs, the company added.
The tyremaker issued the USW a Worker Adjustment Relocation Notice (WARN) Act notification on the afternoon of October 30. By law a company must issue a WARN Act notification 60 days prior to beginning redundancies that will affect more than one-third of the workforce.
“What the WARN Act notice said is that Goodyear intends to end tyre production here, not do a plant closure, but end tyre production here, some time between January 1 and January 14 of next year, and that just triggers the discussions that we will begin tomorrow around what is the timeline for doing that, how many jobs will we actually have here,” said USW Local 746L president Jim Wansley. The union and company operate a preferential hire agreement, therefore some employees may be relocated to positions in other plants should they wish.
The decision to end tyre production rather than close the Tyler plant outright has generated a degree of speculation that Goodyear may have other plans for the facility, such as using the location as a mixing operation. Goodyear’s total closure of the Tyler plant is also hampered by the USW master contract, which states the company must shut down its Valleyfield mixing operation in Canada before it can close Tyler.