Will A Strike Keep The Goodyear Plant Open? Officials Fear No. - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/5/06-Tyler

Will A Strike Keep The Goodyear Plant Open? Officials Fear No.

Disappointed, but not surprised, is the initial reaction to union workers going on strike.

"We don't think it's good news for Tyler so we're very concerned," says Tom Mullins, President of the Tyler Economic Development Council.

"[A strike] hurts the cause of keeping Goodyear Tyler open. I really believe that," says Senator Kevin Eltife.

Eltife was called with news of a strike this morning. He says with union workers gone it's easier for Goodyear's Tyler plant to remain on the short list.

"I respect the union officials and what they're doing and fighting for membership. I have total respect for that. But in the scheme of things it hurts their cause overall because if I'm Goodyear corporate making those decisions it's going to be easier to close plants," says Eltife.

Another disadvantage, officials say, is low demand for the type of tires produced at the Tyler plant.

"They still make small diameter tires, 13-14-15 inch. When the market is for 16-20 inches or higher, [Goodyear] could make those tires cheaper in foreign markets and foreign countries," says Mullins.

But local leaders are keeping their eye on the economy, knowing what's in store if more than a thousand Tyler union workers are out of a job.

"They use our medical community, they're in our service sector jobs. Everyone will feel it. We'll have loss of revenue at the school district, at TJC," says Eltife.

Mullins adds, "We're all going to feel it. Because for every job that we lose at a facility like Goodyear, we're going to lose another 2-3 jobs in the economy."

It's a loss officials believe the economy cannot withstand. But maybe now they're anticipating it, with both sides unable to come up with a labor agreement since July.

The Economic Development Council says the union has a strike fund in situations like these. It's uncertain though how much is there to support a lengthy strike.

Christine Nelson reporting. cnelson@kltv.com

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