Firestone To Close Noblesville Air Springs Facility
On September 16 Firestone Industrial Products Company (FSIP) officially announced the upcoming closure of its air spring factory in Noblesville, Indiana. The final closure, expected to occur in the second half of 2009, will take place following a gradual phase-down of operations.
“The decision to close the Noblesville plant was especially difficult because we have been part of the Noblesville community for 72 years,” said Mike Cerio, president, FSIP. “But the reality is that the plant is no longer globally competitive.”
The company notified Noblesville employees and the United Steelworkers of a potential plant closure in June. As required by its labour contract, the company entered into immediate negotiations with the USW. FSIP says it determined there were no other viable solutions to the problems the plant faces. The air spring market is increasingly global, the company adds, making it difficult for FSIP — as the only US manufacturer of air springs — to compete with overseas manufacturers with lower production costs.
The Noblesville plant began operations in 1936 and produces industrial and automotive air springs, used as both original equipment and in the aftermarket. The facility employs about 300 staff.