CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Oct. 17) — The United Steelworkers union has ratified a tentative agreement reached last week with Continental Tire North America Inc. over the closure of the company's Mayfield, Ken., tire plant.
The pact provides severance, health care and retirement benefits for hourly employees displaced as a result of the closure of the Mayfield plant. In addition, it sets the terms for the orderly phase down of operations at the factory.
"Continental Tire is well aware of the impact that the closure of the Mayfield plant will have on our employees and the Mayfield community," said Rick Holcomb, legal counsel for Conti. "We worked long and hard to reach an agreement with the union that provides continued retirement security and health care coverage for our employees and retirees in Mayfield."
On Aug. 2, Conti announced that the Mayfield plant would close on or about Feb. 1, 2007, as a result of escalating costs for energy and raw materials and declining sales to original equipment customers for the company's passenger and light truck tire products.
Under the agreement, Conti will provide lump sum severance payments of up to $30,000 based upon years of service to employees that lose their jobs as a result of the plant closing. These employees will also be eligible for up to 24 months of company-paid health care.
In addition, employees with at least 25 years of service will be eligible for special early retirement benefits and retiree health care as well as a lump sum payment of $7,500. Conti and the USW also agreed to work cooperatively to relocate products and equipment out of the Mayfield plant and assist displaced employees with their transition to other employment opportunities.