TUSCALOOSA, Ala.—Michelin North America Inc. is putting slightly less than 10 percent of the workers at its BF Goodrich Tire Manufacturing plant in Tuscaloosa on indefinite layoff.
There will be 95 or 96 workers laid off at Tuscaloosa beginning Oct. 28, leaving the plant with slightly more than 1,000 workers, according to Mark Williams, president of United Steelworkers Local 351L in Tuscaloosa, which organizes the BF Goodrich workers there.
In a prepared statement issued Oct. 11, Michelin said it was making the layoffs to align production and inventory with current market demand. Details of the layoffs are still being finalized, it said.
"We continue to monitor the tire market and will react accordingly," the company said.
The soft economy plus import competition were to blame for the layoffs, according to Williams.
"We're a Tier 2 company, below the big names like Michelin, Goodyear and Bridgestone," he said. "Our competition comes from Hankook, Yokohama and companies like that."
Only two BF Goodrich Tire Manufacturing facilities in the U.S.—the Tuscaloosa plant and the facility in Fort Wayne, Ind.—are still unionized, according to Williams. The BF Goodrich plant in Ardmore, Okla., is non-union, he said.
The Tuscaloosa plant manufactures passenger and light truck tires. Another BF Goodrich tire plant in Opelika, Ala., closed on Oct. 31, 2009.