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Bridgestone/Firestone to discuss Decatur plant closing with Steelworkers

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Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) Inc. officials will begin negotiations with the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) tomorrow regarding the possible closing of its Decatur, Ill., plant.

"We'll share with them our plan for closure," says a BFS spokeperson.

On June 27, BFS announced it may permanently shut down the manufacturing facility by the end of 2001 due to supply and demand problems that are adversely affecting the company.

"The most effective way to address this issue is to close one plant and raise production levels nearing capacity at our other facilities," John McQuade, division vice president for BFS' manufacturing operations, said. "Decatur is the most likely candidate due to a number of factors, including the age and size of the plant."

At 100% capacity, the Decatur factory builds 25,500 passenger and light truck tires a day, according to Modern Tire Dealer data.

Right now, it is running at 50% capacity.

Talks will take place in Pittsburgh, Pa., where the USWA is based. BFS President and CEO John Lampe will lead the tiremaker's contingent.

Other meetings will be held, according to BFS officials.

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