NASHVILLE, Tenn. (July 14) — Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire L.L.C. said its 37-year-old Oklahoma City tire plant definitely will close by the end of the year.
BFS first announced the potential closure in April, and the firm said neither it nor the union representing the workers could come up with a viable plan to keep the passenger and light truck tire factory open.
Steve Brooks, BFS vice president of manufacturing operations, said the facility mainly makes tires for the low-end of the market, where demand is shrinking and competition from low-cost imports rising. He said the plant couldn´t be made competitive, even with substantial new investment.
Terms of the closure will be negotiated with the United Steelworkers union, which represents about 1,200 workers at the factory. The plant, which has capacity to make 43,500 tires daily, will continue to manufacture tires in the short term, but production will slow down then cease by the end of the year.
BFS also currently is in master contract talks with the USW, which represents 6,000 BFS workers at eight facilities, including Oklahoma City.