CHARLOTTE, N.C.—Continental General Tire Inc. plans to shift capacity for about 6,000 light truck tires a day to its non-union Mount Vernon, Ill., facility after union workers at its Mayfield, Ky., plant twice rejected mid-contract concessions. CGT expects to spend $40 million to support the production shift and add about 40,000 square feet to the Illinois factory—including a 26,000-sq.-ft. annex to house the maintenance department and a 14,000-sq.-ft. extension to accommodate a new extrusion line.
The majority of the $40 million investment is earmarked for equipment, said Mark Pitchford, the plant's human resources manager.
The project will be completed by October, he said, and CGT will add 125 to 150 workers to the Illinois unit's roster of 2,000 to support the expansion.
``From our perspective, this is both an addition in volume and variety,'' said Mr. Pitchford, noting the plant previously made only passenger and truck tires.
CGT is transferring all of its light truck tire capacity in Kentucky to Mount Vernon, Mr. Pitchford and a union official said.
Union workers at CGT's Kentucky facility are disappointed with the firm's machinery move, said Romey Holmes, president of United Steelworkers of America Local 665, which staffs the unit.
``There's a pretty good market for light truck tires,'' said Mr. Holmes, noting pickup truck and sport-utility vehicle sales are on the rise. ``We were hoping we could build light truck tires both here and there. There's enough demand—if their people would get out and sell.''
The machinery move didn't catch Local 665 completely off guard, Mr. Holmes said. ``The company told us during our '93 negotiations that they wouldn't be caught again depending on just Mayfield for light truck tires,'' he said. ``Up until just recently, we were the only Conti General plant consistently making light truck tires.''
CGT plans to cut the Kentucky roster to 300 from the current 800 and reduce production to 20 percent of capacity by year's end, Mr. Holmes said.