UPDATE: AUGUST 17, 2019 — LAYOFFS HIT GADSDEN, ALABAMA PLANT
The company has announced that 175 employees will be laid off at the Gadsden facility. According to a union representative, “As the Goodyear plant in Mexico comes online, we’re losing tires. As they build more tires, our production here in Gadsden is decreasing. What has happened is we’re caught up in NAFTA and the free trade deal. We can’t compete here in Gadsden.”
UPDATE: APRIL 30, 2019 — COMPANY ANNOUNCES GERMAN LAYOFFS. CAN U.S. LAYOFFS BE FAR BEHIND?
Following a First Quarter loss of $61 million, including a $93 million upgrade of German tire facilities, Goodyear’s CFO, Darren Wells explained that additional German plant upgrades will take approximately three years to complete — and there will be a reduction in force of 1,100 employees to save $60-$70 million annually.
Once can only wonder if continuing losses and increased automation will result in the loss of U.S.-based jobs. One initiative to watch is the launch of the online system to allow commercial fleet operators to interact with the company rather than speaking with employees.
Akron, Ohio-based Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, the iconic tire manufacturer, has announced that they are planning shift changes and layoffs in the at the Gadsden, Alabama plant which produces car and light-truck tires.
The company did not provide specifics on numbers or positions and it appears that no WARN (Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification) notice has been filed with the State of Alabama at this time. However, the company did note that layoffs will take place in the second quarter and that the company is reducing its 12-hour shifts to a standard 8-hour shift beginning at the end of March 2019.
According to a company spokesperson, the decision is a routine business matter and that the “The company continually adjusts schedules to maximize capacity at all plants, increase operational efficiencies and best serve our customers with the tires they need, when and where they need them. This move is part of that process.”
The one bright spot is that the Gadsden plant is protected from closure under a 5-year contract between Goodyear and the United Steelworkers Union. Since this is year two, there are three years left remaining on the contract. Some employees believe the plant is in jeopardy because approximately 1,000 employees were laid off in February 1999 when the plant was scheduled for closure. Obviously, business conditions improved and Goodyear reversed their decision to close the facility.
Change is coming. There will always be a tomorrow, no matter how much you may try to ignore it. There are no guarantees in life, or promises for a bright future. Just because something bad hasn't happened yet, doesn't mean it won't. It can happen to anyone, anytime, anywhere. No one is guaranteed to wake up tomorrow and still have a job by evening. Are you now wondering, Am I Next?