Bridgestone closes Firestone Fibers, Canada plant
On 4 October Bridgestone Canada Inc. (Bridgestone) announced the closure of its Firestone Fibers and Textiles facility based in Woodstock, Ontario, Canada. The closure affects 35 salaried employees and 135 hourly employees, and will be conducted in phases beginning 31 December 2017, with operations completely ceasing in the second half of 2018.
“This has been an incredibly difficult decision that has come about only after extensive consideration and a thorough assessment of our business and operations,” said Bill Thompson, chief operating officer, Bridgestone Americas, Inc., the parent company of Bridgestone Canada Inc. “There is a strong team at the Woodstock plant, and we are grateful for our employees’ contributions to our business and the community. In light of increasing global competition and difficult market conditions, however, it is no longer viable to maintain operations in Woodstock.”
The plant will ramp down operations over an 18-month period, continuing to produce in Woodstock during the transition, while also leveraging existing assets in Kings Mountain, North Carolina, to meet customer demand in a cost-effective manner.
“We are committed to helping to reduce the impact of this decision on affected employees and the community,” Thompson said. “We are proud of our long-standing presence in Woodstock and our Canadian footprint, and are focused first on our employees through this transition, but also on our customers, suppliers and community partners.”
In addition to severance packages, Bridgestone is working with the union representing hourly employees at Woodstock to determine how to best support those affected, including exploring options such as outplacement assistance and onsite job fairs.
The Woodstock plant has been in operation since 1936 and currently produces Nylon 6 for external customers, and reinforcement materials for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, Firestone Industrial Products and Firestone Building Products. Bridgestone continues to have a significant presence in the Canadian market, including a large tyre manufacturing plant in Joliette, Quebec.