ARDMORE, Okla. (Jan. 20, 2009)—Michelin North America Inc. has ended a temporary shutdown at its Ardmore plant where it laid off 240 employees for eight weeks, but 110 contract workers have yet to return.
Employees of Holland Group, a Murfreesboro, Tenn.-based firm that outsources manufacturing services, were among those who volunteered for the temporary layoffs Michelin initiated in November because of soft demand for passenger and light truck tires.
In a recent statement, Michelin said the company traditionally uses contractors as an additional work force when production demands are above the capabilities of its employees, but demand has been suffering.
While the company is sensitive to the needs of contractors and vendors, in difficult times it prioritizes Michelin employees, the firm said.
Michelin said the future use of contractors at the Ardmore plant will be dependent on market demand after it fully utilizes its existing workers.
Pat Wise, Holland Group's division manager for the Ardmore plant, said the company was under the impression the contract workers would also return at the end of the temporary layoff period. She said Michelin has since told them that it may begin to recruit workers back in March.
“They anticipate that we are going to be going back in the second quarter, but again that's dependent on the economy,” Wise said.
She said the company has worked diligently to outplace contract workers into new positions, but a lot of them will probably remain unemployed for the time being. However, she said the layoffs are not contract related and the company expects to maintain its relationship with Michelin.