Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations (BATO) has announced it will reduce production of truck tires and completely cease passenger car and light truck production at its LaVergne, TN tire plant. The company has permanently reduced its workforce by 543 jobs in consumer tire manufacturing and will also lay off 191 hourly, 34 maintenance and 34 salaried employees in truck tire manufacturing at the plant beginning in mid-March.
Truck tire manufacturing will continue at the LaVergne facility with about 700 hourly, maintenance and salaried employees. BATO said it will negotiate with United Steelworkers (USW) to agree to terms under which the passenger tire production will be phased out and what benefits hourly employees will be entitled to.
“Our hope is that all truck and bus production teammates can return to work by the end of the first quarter of 2010,” said Steve Brooks, president, U.S., Canada and Monterrey Manufacturing Group, BATO. “The truck tire market is often seen as a leading indicator of how the economy is doing. As consumer confidence begins to improve and consumer spending increases, more trucks — and truck tires — will be needed to address consumer demand.”