OKLAHOMA CITY (Oct. 18, 2006) — Bridgestone/Firestone on Oct. 28 will lay off 416 workers at its Oklahoma City plant, the first drawdown of labor at the plant that is destined to close by year-end.
The Nashville, Tenn.-based company said the affected employees will receive information about severance, benefits and pension, pursuant to the union contract. Tire manufacturing will continue at the plant with production gradually diminishing.
BFS said in a statement that it had been in talks with the United Steelworkers on a plant closure package for all employees. “But the union has broken off those discussions and no additional meetings are currently scheduled.”
A union spokesman said the company wanted to talk about the Oklahoma City plant as a standalone issue while the union wanted to deal with it in terms of the overall master contract and its job security provisions. Talks for the contract are on hold as the union is on strike against Goodyear.
The spokesman also said the union may challenge the validity of the 416 layoffs under the master contract's job security provisions, but the union is interested in returning to the table.
“We want to investigate every possibility of keeping that facility open,” he told Tire Business.
The tire maker said it has worked with state and federal officials to determine ways to assist employees. BFS announced in May that it wanted to close the 37-year-old plant.