AKRON (Jan. 4) — Goodyear didn´t waste any time in naming a plant where it would reduce tire-building capacity in addition to its Tyler, Texas, facility.
The company announced Jan. 4 it would discontinue tire production at its Valleyfield, Quebec, plant, where it makes radial passenger and light truck tires. The plan is to transition the 43-year-old site to a materials mixing center by the end of the second quarter.
There are about 1,000 hourly and salaried employees in Valleyfield; the mixing center is expected to house about 200 people, Goodyear said. The estimated capacity at the plant is 24,000 units per day.
The capacity and labor reduction at the Quebec facility is related to Goodyear´s global objective to reduce excess high-cost tire manufacturing capacity. Meeting that goal also was the impetus for the impending closure of the Tyler plant, which was announced in October.
Through master contract negotiations with the United Steelworkers, the closing in Tyler was pushed back to sometime in 2008 from mid-2007. However, part of the contract agreement also called for Goodyear to close or reduce tire capacity at a second plant to prove the company´s need to cut capacity and not simply close USW-represented facilities.
The company´s Valleyfield announcement comes only one week after the master contract covering more than 12,000 workers at 12 U.S. tire and rubber product factories was ratified, ending an 86-day strike at those sites. About 400 workers at four Canadian plants — not including Valleyfield — approved separate contracts, putting them back to work as well.
An irony of the Valleyfield closure is that the production workers there are unionized, just not by the USW. More than 800 workers are represented by the Canadian labor union Syndicat Canadien des Communications, de l´Energie et du Papier. The workers were once with the United Rubber Workers — now part of the USW — but left in the mid-1980s.
The USW does represent a small group of 60 or so technical and office workers in Valleyfield. That local struck against Goodyear in June 2000.