Goodyear Announces Tyler Plant Closure - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/30/06-Tyler

Goodyear Announces Tyler Plant Closure

For more than three weeks, Union Steelworkers have been on a nationwide strike. One of their key battles is keeping the Tyler plant open. About 15,000 workers at 12 plants, including Tyler, want Goodyear to head back to the bargaining table. But today, Goodyear announced plans to hire replacement workers at some of their plants and to close down the Tyler plant.

Union officials say the announcement will not end the strike. They say they plan to put picketers out here 24 hours a day, just as they have been since the strike began on October 5th. A plane registered to Goodyear flew out of Tyler Pounds Regional Airport this morning.

Company officials were here to talk to associates inside the plant. A spokesman for Goodyear told KLTV 7 News, the decision to close the Tyler plant had nothing to do with the strike. "This decision is based on Goodyear's exiting an unprofitable business that is under constant pressure from low-wage imports. That's the central issue here," said Goodyear spokesperson Ed Markey.

Local United Steelworkers Local 746L President Jim Wansley says Goodyear's decision is disheartening, but the union has no plans to end its strike. "We'll move this strike to the next level. This international union will not reach a contract that allows them to shut this plant down or any one of the other 12 locations," said Wansley.  He says the organization plans to continue to schedule workers to picket 24 hours a day.

"It doesn't scare me. It just renews my resolve with the strike," said Goodyear employee Turk Gorkmen.

The closure of the plant would mean a one billion dollar loss to Tyler's economy. With no source of income, the situation for a lot of these workers is getting worse every day. But they say going back to work now, would do them and the union no good.  

"What good would it be for some of us to go back in that plant just to make a few dollars when they're going to shut it down?" said Goodyear employee Ronnie Dickson.  

The company says it does not plan to bring in replacement workers to Tyler. They say they're contemplating what to do next. For now there is no timeline for the closure.  

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.  ortega@kltv.com

 

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