Kelly Springfield Proposes Innovative Plan to Keep Labor

The Kelly Springfield Tire Company hopes a plan they've developed with Goodyear Tire can save 500 local jobs this year.

Half of the plant's 1300 salaried positions were at risk a few weeks ago, when Ohio-based Goodyear announced it would reduce labor at plants nationwide. Now, Goodyear has agreed to give Kelly Springfield updated equipment, if they can maintain production output with 150 fewer employees. The new equipment will allow Kelly Springfield to make larger tires, which dominate the marketplace.

"Without this particular plan, we would be looking at somewhere between 500 to 600 jobs lost by the end of the year," says Kelly-Springfield Communications Training Manager, Steve Day. "But, by presenting the plan to Goodyear, and them accepting it, they're saying if you think you can do this we're going to give you the opportunity to prove you can. If we're successful, we'll lose 150 people compared to somewhere between 500 to 600."

Representatives with the plant's local labor union say many of those laid-off will be offered early retirement. The company will gradually eliminate those positions.

   Kerri Panchuk, reporting.