NASHVILLE, Tenn. (June 8, 2001) — Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. is considering closing tire plants in Mexico and Argentina unless it gets wage and benefit concessions from unions in those countries.
In Mexico, where the company has approved a modernization program for its Cuernavaca radial passenger car and light truck tire plant, the company “is working with the union to come up with a mutually beneficial plan,” according to a company spokesman.
“A wage reduction measure is necessary to remain competitive in this market. BFS wants to remain competitive, but closing the plant if concessions are not made may be the only option,” the spokesman said.
BFS also operates a bias-ply light and medium truck tire plant in Mexico City.
"With regard to our factory near Buenos Aires, we have requested union concessions which would put us more in line with the two other local tire manufacturers, Pirelli and Fate,” said Mark A. Emkes, president, International Tire Operations.
“While we were certainly proud to be able to pay the highest wages in the tire industry, current conditions will no longer allow us to do so,” Mr. Emke said. “In view of losses being incurred at our Argentina location, we need these concessions in order to survive. Otherwise, we will have no choice but to close our Argentina facility."