Skip to comments.Goodyear's Union City, Tenn., plant to close, eliminating 1,900 jobs
Posted on 02/13/2011 1:00:55 PM PST by DeaconBenjamin
Goodyear's plant manager placed its bad-news call to City Hall at 7:58 a.m. Thursday: The Union City plant where 1,900 employees make radial tires will close by year's end.
"We were just all surprised, I guess," City Clerk Carolyn Moran said, adding most everyone in this border town of 10,200 knows someone who works at the plant four miles north of City Hall.
Union City sits at the Kentucky line, 115 miles northeast of Memphis. The area unemployment rate is 9.9 percent.
Goodyear's fourth-quarter earnings report, released Thursday, disclosed the Akron, Ohio-based company will take a one-time $160 million charge related to the plant closing.
Goodyear Chairman and CEO Richard Kramer said in the release: "While we are committed to manufacturing in North America, all of our plants must be cost-competitive and be able to demonstrate sustainable, world-class productivity."
"That is not the case with this plant, and as a result, the market has moved beyond what the factory is able to build."
The news confirmed the fears of many in the region.
"I guess it's a surprise that it happened as soon as it happened, but we all had known because of its unprotected status that something like this could happen," Mayor Terry Hailey said.
He referred to the last contract agreement between Goodyear and the United Steelworkers, which didn't protect the plant from shutting down.
"Obviously, it's a severe blow to the community," said Hailey, a local radio station manager who's been part-time mayor the past 22 years.
The effects of the closing will radiate beyond Union City and Obion County; workers commuted from the entire region, Hailey said.
In Nashville, state Rep. Bill Sanderson of nearby Kenton rose on the House floor to express his disappointment, pointing out that the closing imperiled not only jobs at the factory, but also at businesses that depended on Goodyear's operations. "Hundreds of millions of dollars" would be lost in the region because of the closing, the Republican said.
Gov. Bill Haslam said the Goodyear closure is a "huge hit" for an area already plagued by high unemployment.
"I don't know yet what we can do but I can promise you we're going to focus a lot of attention there," Haslam said after a luncheon speech Thursday.
"We obviously haven't had time to put a strategy in place there but we understand how serious that is for the area and we will work hard at trying to alleviate that," the governor said.
A United Steelworkers Local 878L official declined to comment until all its members had been informed of Goodyear's announcement.
But the local posted a message on its website Thursday:
"This morning Plant Management called the Union Negotiating Committee to the plant and announced intentions for plant shutdown. "They will be announcing this to the members today. Plans are to run at the current production levels until towards the end of the year. There are no plans for a ramp down in production levels."
The plant opened in 1968, Hailey said.
Union City still has other substantial employers, including a Kohler plumbing fixtures plant, Tyson Foods, a Lennox Hearth Products plant, and Williams Sausages.
"Hopefully, we can attract somebody else as soon as we can," Hailey said. "We certainly will have an available workforce.
Thanks to Obama more jobs lost. My bet these tires will soon be made in China.
I’m guessing that Goodyear has the same problems I saw at GM.
The added costs and lower productivity of a unionized workforce is a very tough factor to overcome when facing a wide assortment of competitors without that problem.
Now they can name it Non-Union City
But, is it the change you thought you voted for??
1900 families devastated. it’s not easy to get a new job these days.
“Hang in there!”
More shovel-ready jobs for Obama. Shovel-ready...as in “dead and ready for burial”. The WH can rejoice because that’s more Americans who need unemployment benefits driving us closer to the tipping point where communism becomes mandatory to feed and house the people who will never find productive work again.
There was a day when one of the union provided benefits was their own unemployment system to keep families like this going until they could get another job: one of those things that unions did when they were meaningful and not a political arm for the Dims.
It is sad news for Union City, Hickman,Ky Fulton,Ky Martin, Tn and the entire region. 1,900 jobs lost will decimate the area. About 10 percent of the population works there. However, it can’t be blamed on Obama. The plant is old and outdated. It is pure economics. Already a very poor region, except for agriculture, this will be an enormous shock to many more people than the 1,900 who will be losing their jobs.
Goodyear has been doing this for years...slowly moving plants abroad (its not like the raw materials come from here anyway). We have a local plant...around a year ago, Goodyear hired a man from Mexico to work at the plant/observe the operation...uper management. Seems like our plant’s days are numbered.
The Baraqqi regime has added 17 million to the food stamp rolls in 2 years.
I’ve not investigated the stats, but this has to be an unprecedented number.
Congress and the WH needs to start providing incentives to add jobs in America. There’s no way we can compete with $2 an hour but...
“He referred to the last contract agreement between Goodyear and the United Steelworkers, which didn’t protect the plant from shutting down. “
Another SUCCESS STORY for organized labor. They taught THE MAN a lesson here.
In 2009, President Barack Obama signed off on higher tire tariffs. http://www.google.com/search?q=Obama+tire+tariffs&hl=en&tbo=1&num=10&lr=&ft=i&cr=&safe=off&tbs=
And those 1,900 lost jobs will trigger plenty of additional lost jobs in that area.
Is there a pay & benefit schedule at which Goodyear would have stayed? What kind of money are these workers earning? We know how much they’ll be earning after the plant closes.
What Congress and the White House SHOULD do is to stop creating DISINCENTIVES to the creation of jobs in the United States. Every stupid government program, every new regulation of everything, every legal challenge to anything, every “employee rights” statement, not only gives prospective employers a reason to “Not be an employer”, it virtually tells them that is is stupid to grow your business here.
Government at any level does NOT create jobs in the private sector. Government can ONLY create the climate that will encourage the growth of employment. They are doing just the opposite.