Goodyear reveals more details of Huntsville closing

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will save approximately $100 million annually by closing its Huntsville, Ala., plant, according to Goodyear officials.

Goodyear will shutter the factory by Dec. 5, 2003, as part of its new, three-year labor contract with the United Steelworkers of America.

The Akron, Ohio-based tiremaker will record rationalization charges of nearly $155 million during the fourth quarter and an accelerated depreciation charge of $100 million due to the closing, which will impact 1,100 hourly and salaried workers.

"The decision to close the Huntsville plant is based on Goodyear's need to reduce capacity in North America," says Jon Rich, president of Goodyear's North American Tire unit.

"The Huntsville facility has been one of our highest cost plants to operate.

"This difficult action is another necessary step in our turnaround plan for North America."

Rich adds that Goodyear will "provide resources to help our associates through this transition as they seek other employment opportunties."

Hourly workers will be given priority consideration for hire at Goodyear's Gadsden, Ala., plant, which will pick up some Huntsville production.

The Huntsville plant, a former Dunlop facility, can produce 27,000 passenger tires a day at top capacity, according to Modern Tire Dealer statistics.

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