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Bridgestone/Firestone officially announces Decatur plant closing

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Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. will close its Decatur, Ill., tire manufacturing facility "as of Dec. 31, 2001," according to company officials.

"We have advised representatives of the United Steelworkers of America, as well as representatives of the city of Decatur, of this decision," says John McQuade, BFS vice president of manufacturing operations. "We will continue to meet with the union to reach agreement on the effects of this closure.

"This is a painful decision, but one that is necessary to ensure the company's financial health and viability."

BFS announced in late June that it was considering closing the Decatur factory by the end of the year in order to adjust production levels and compensate for supply and demand disparities.

The plant's closing will affect some 1,500 employees.

At full capacity, Decatur produces 25,500 passenger and light truck tires a day, according to Modern Tire Dealer data, but the plant has been running at half capacity.

BFS has not revealed where Decatur's production will be transferred.

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