Monday, December 1, 2008

Bridgestone Announces Layoff, Considers Partial Shutdown

WPLN News TranscriptsProduced daily by your WPLN News Staff Monday, December 01st, 2008 Bridgestone Firestone will layoff 158 workers December 21st at its La Vergne plant due to slumping demand for passenger and light truck tires. The company also announced today it may close its passenger tire operation altogether.Of the 17-hundred Bridgestone employees in La Vergne, 500 work on the consumer tire lines. The company produces the same tires in five locations, but manufacturing president Steve Brooks says it costs more to make them in La Vergne. "We value what all of our teammates do in contributing to the overall profitability of our company. But in hard economic times like these, we have to have some deciding factor." Steelworkers say they feel like Bridgestone is targeting a union shop. Local 1055 spokesman Scott Smith says two other passenger tire plants do not have collective bargaining agreements. "It's union vs. non-union. Not only do you have some wage and benefit issues, you have some control issues." Bridgestone has not finalized its decision to partially shutdown the La Vergne operation, but it has given the union notice. If Steelworkers don't bend on their contract, passenger tire production could cease on or before June 30th next year.

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