AKRON (Oct. 6, 2003) — Goodyear will close its Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America tire plant in Huntsville, Ala., by Dec. 5, affecting about 1,100 hourly and salaried workers at the facility.
The closing notice had been anticipated for weeks. The tire maker's recently concluded contract talks with the United Steelworkers of America left the Huntsville plant unprotected, making its closing a virtual certainty.
The company said it anticipates annualized savings associated with the closing of approximately $100 million.
Goodyear will record rationalization charges in the fourth quarter of about $155 million and an accelerated depreciation charge of $100 million in connection with the plant's closing.
The company estimated the total cash payments to be about $85 million -—with $65 million to be expended over the next three years.
Jonathan D. Rich, president of the company's North American Tire business unit, said the “decision to close the Huntsville plant is based on Goodyear's need to reduce capacity in North America.” The factory, he continued, “has been one of our highest cost plants to operate. This difficult action is another necessary step in our turnaround plan for North America.”
He called the closing a “very difficult time for our associates, their families and the community of Huntsville,” and said the company will provide resources to help workers through the transition as they seek other employment opportunities.
Hourly employees will be given priority consideration for preferential hiring at Goodyear's tire plant in Gadsden, Ala., the company said. Those not hired at other Goodyear facilities and those who choose to retire will receive additional benefits as part of the Huntsville closure.
Tire lines made in Huntsville will be transferred to other Goodyear plants in the U.S., the company said.