Fayetteville Goodyear plant temporarily shuts down leaving hundreds unemployed

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- Hundreds of employees will be impacted as the Goodyear Plant in Fayetteville prepares to temporarily suspend operations in response to the sudden decline in market demand due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Goodyear workers spent Thursday morning helping each other file for unemployment inside the United Steel Workers Local 959 Union Hall. Terry Brewington, the Union president, said it hasn't been easy as he listened to the operator on the unemployment phone line.

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According to Brewington, operations temporarily shut down at the plant Wednesday until further notice. He said this closure impacts about 2,500 workers including Ray Blue, a contractor looking for other ways to make money.

"I can do landscaping, pressure washing, automotive mechanic, bodywork. I can do many jobs," said Blue.

The Goodyear plant parking lot which typically runs 24/7 now sits eerily vacant, something 81-year-old William Hodges McLaurin has never seen in the 50 years he's worked there.

"My dad always told me to put some (money) away for a rainy day. I always did that," said McLaurin. "I just hope it don't prolong for long."

These employees are set to be paid next week. After that, those protected by the union will draw 80 percent of their pay. As for the hundreds of contractors, that's not an option.

"A lot of them have never been through this before," said Blue.
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