Goodyear Employees Look For New Jobs - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

10/31/06-Tyler

Goodyear Employees Look For New Jobs

It's been more than 24 hours since Goodyear made the announcement on the fate of the Tyler plant. For some of the 1100 employees reality has set in, they will be without a job.  On Tuesday, KLTV went to the East Texas Workforce Center, where many were starting to look for jobs.

"Since I have worked their this is the first time we have been on strike," says Wayne Kirkley Jr., longtime employee of Goodyear.

Kirkley has worked for Goodyear for the past 20 years and his father worked their for 32 years. Today, he has decided it's time to start looking for another job. So he went to the East Texas Workforce Center to fill out an application.

"I hope I get a job and I don't have to worry about Goodyear threatening every time a contract comes up," says Kirkley.

He says he had saved money to get him through the strike and he, like many of his fellow employees, hoped Goodyear would have gone back to the drawing board.  But after yesterday's announcement, he's looking for a new opportunity.

"I am going back into the oil field where I worked for nearly 10 years driving a truck. I enjoy working outside and stuff so that's why I want to go back," says Kirkley.

If he goes to work for a different company he may have to take a pay cut.

"Not much, if I go to work for the company that I want to," says Kirkley.

Goodyear employees make an average of $22.00 an hour.  That's a wage, Stephen Lynch, site manager with East Texas Workforce Center says will be hard to match.

"We have enough jobs in the system to fill some of the needs of the workers looking for jobs but there has to be some concessions made on their wages. The employers that have valid openings right now are nowhere near close to what those particular employees were getting," says Lynch.

Wayne says next week he will go door to door to businesses and apply in person, hoping for a new opportunity. The East Texas Workforce Center already had a November Job Expo lined up next week, which Lynch says has expanded since the news of Goodyear spread.   The first will be on Wednesday in Tyler at the Rose Garden from 9:00 AM to Noon. Then next Thursday at Longview's Workforce Center from 9:00 to Noon. So far more than 40 employers have signed up at both.

In addition, a group of East Texas community leaders are coming together to find ways to help Goodyear employees.   Tomorrow, Tyler Junior College along with Senator Kevin Eltife will host something called the Goodyear Plant Closure Community Response Task Force.

"If they are trying to file for unemployment services, being helped with food, clothes and that sort of thing.  Also, trying to find a job, trying to get job skills and trying to get trained if they want to go in a different career field, so they don't have to run around from place to place and so it's easier for them to know what available," says Dr. William Crowe, President of Tyler Junior College.

Anyone interested in learning more about the task force should contact Senator Eltife's Tyler office.

Karolyn Davis, reporting.  kdavis@kltv.com

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