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Goodyear may close tire mold plant

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. says its tire mold facility in Stow, Ohio, "is subject to possible closure as a result of an overall reduction in demand for molds and the high cost of operations at the facility."

A Goodyear spokesman says the company is evaluating the facility’s future after negotiations with the local union failed "to achieve cost savings that would make the facility more competitive." Some 150 employees would be affected.

No timetable for any action has been established, although Goodyear says it plans to proceed with appropriate communications procedures under the Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification (WARN) act.

“Stow has been operating at less than a third of its capacity at a time when Goodyear’s requirement for molds has decreased," says Lowell Dunckel, senior vice president of global product supply. "The facility faces imposing hurdles that ultimately may not be overcome.

"With reduced mold demand, a high cost structure and a plant operating at less than a third of capacity, the future of the facility is in question.”

If the Stow facility closes, Goodyear will have one tire mold plant remaining in North America, and three worldwide. The others are located in Statesville, N.C.; San Paulo, Brazil; and Luxembourg.

Originally designed to manufacture tire molds for all of Goodyear’s tire plants in the United States, the Stow facility focused on molds for racing and experimental tires in recent years.

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