FREEPORT, Ill. (Aug. 22) — Titan International Inc. has laid off 50 workers at its Freeport agricultural tire plant, making 71 total layoffs at the site since the end of last month.
Maurice Taylor Jr., Titan CEO and chairman, confirmed Aug. 22 the cutbacks at the plant, which the company bought from Goodyear at the end of 2005. The United Steelworkers union, which represents the 700-plus hourly workers in Freeport, has said the layoffs are tied to a reduction in Goodyear´s purchase of all-terrain vehicle tires and mixed rubber stock at the factory.
Taylor said the plant needs about 500 hourly people to produce the same amount of product it is now. However, Titan has said it has plans to expand the operations in Freeport, especially with the addition of capacity from the company´s recent purchase of the former Continental Tire North America Inc. plant in Bryan, Ohio.
He said previously that some specialty tire brands could be manufactured in different plants from where they have been traditionally. Taylor added that he believes sales will rise in Freeport, and there is a possibility laid-off workers could be called back.