DECATUR, Ill.-Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. has begun laying off workers at its Decatur radial tire plant, starting the countdown to the facility's final days in December.
About 335 production workers were laid off Sept. 24, and 180-190 employees were expected to be let go Oct. 22, according to Roger Gates, president of United Steelworkers of America Local 713.
Each worker leaving the plant will receive a lump sum payment based on 80 percent of wages he or she would have earned if they stayed in the factory until shutdown. Employees will be paid through Dec. 27, although their last day in the plant will be Dec. 23, Mr. Gates said.
The workers also will get a plant-closure payment, which includes a flat sum plus an additional amount based on years of service and other calculations, he said. Payments could range from $5,500 to $25,000.
Nothing else definite has been planned or scheduled for future layoffs, but Mr. Gates said there likely will be at least one more round of layoffs before December. The plant's current production work force is at about 850, he said.
About 15 senior workers have been hired at Bridgestone/Firestone's Des Moines, Iowa, farm tire plant. The facility will gain some openings because Titan International Inc. settled its strike with the USWA last month and some workers hired from Titan will return to that factory, Mr. Gates said. But as of now, the Des Moines plant is the only one hiring in the BFS chain, he said.
Three other BFS tire plants also had layoffs and curtailments in late 2000 and early 2001. But only Decatur is facing a permanent shutdown.