Goodyear workers set to vote on cutting jobs

October 24, 2012 8:15:25 PM PDT
Workers at the Goodyear tire plant in Fayetteville will start voting Thursday on cutting jobs at the plant. Goodyear is letting the workers decide how the job cuts will felt at the plant.

The only question is whether the jobs will be cut from near the top or the bottom of the seniority pole.    

"It's because of the economy," said union present Darryl Jackson. "We cut back on production because we are in the replacement market, and the replacement market is taking a bit of a hit. So, we are adjusting to market demands."

Earlier this month, Goodyear reduced production from nearly 38,000 tires daily to 29,000.

Now, the company said it needs to eliminate about 200 jobs at the Fayetteville plant. Most of the 2,800 employees belong to the union. The company has proposed offering employee buyouts mainly to workers with some of the highest seniority, which would save the jobs of newer employees.

Jackson said it's a win-win proposal.

"We have so many new hires -- people that have three years or less, people who will be affected by this, and who may actually go out the door if they lay off 200 people as they are planning to do," said Jackson. "If we have the buyout then it will allow some of the senior people to go ahead and take the buyout, and retire with their regular retirement plan. So, it will save a lot of jobs."

However, not all the workers are sold on the idea. As they left work Wednesday night, many honked their horns and yelled vote no. Several people, who wouldn't go on camera, questioned the company's intentions. They said they are hearing of more layoffs down the road.

Jackson said this buyout is a one-time proposal. He expects production to go back up by next spring.

Union members will vote on the proposal Thursday and Friday. If the amendment is approved, buyout talks between the employees and Goodyear could start as early as next week.

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