FREEPORT, Ill.—Goodyear will phase out production of bias-ply farm implement and light truck tires at its Freeport plant this year, transferring production overseas, after the plant's workers rejected proposed work-rule changes. The company's decision will eliminate the jobs of 850 of the plant's 1,550 hourly and salaried workers and affect production of perhaps as many as 17,000 bias-ply tires a day, according to Goodyear and local union sources.
Goodyear also has withdrawn an offer to invest up to $40 million at Freeport to convert bias-ply capacity to radial. It will invest the money at other plants instead.
Goodyear's decisions followed a Jan. 18 vote by plant workers that rejected a proposal to change work schedules to 12-hour shifts and a standard 42-hour work week.
The day after the vote, Jan. 19, Goodyear announced it already has redirected $12 million of this budgeted investment to its non-union passenger tire plant in Napanee, Ontario, and will announce additional projects in the coming months.
Members of United Steelworkers of America Local 745, complained that many of the changes Goodyear requested had been negotiated in a five-year contract both sides had approved only six months earlier.
``The company gave us no word at the time that work was being transferred out,'' said Steve Vanderheyden, president of Local 745. ``Now they want to change things we just agreed to last year.''