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Goodyear's Union City plant: outside looking in?

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The tentative labor contract between Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and the United Steelworkers gives "protected" status to six manufacturing facilities.

Those facilities are in Akron, Ohio, where some racing tires are made; Gadsden, Ala; Buffalo, N.Y.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Topeka, Kan.; and Danville, Va. (This past week, USW members at the Danville plant rejected the agreement.)

Missing from the list is Goodyear's passenger and light truck plant in Union City, Tenn.

In late July, Goodyear Chairman, CEO and President Bob Keegan revealed that the tiremaker had obtained "unprotected" status in Union City, which gives the company the ability to close the factory if needed.

Union City is Goodyear's second largest plant in North America from a capacity standpoint. At full throttle, it can produce 48,000 consumer tires -- including 35,000 passenger tires and 13,000 light truck tires -- per day, according to Modern Tire Dealer research.

In early July, workers at the factory switched for their normal operating schedule to a five-day, three-shift schedule. The move was made to help align production with weak industry demand. As part of the conversion, more than 500 workers agreed to take buy-outs.

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