Opelika tire plant to shut down

By Zaneta Lowe  - bio | e-mail

OPELIKA, AL (WTVM) - Officials with Michelin North America announced today it will close its BF Goodrich Tire Manufacturing plant in Opelika by October 31.

The company had previously laid off more than 80 workers in February.  The Opelika facility produces BF Goodrich and Uniroyal brand passenger car tires. It employs about 1,000 workers.

Today's announcement is part of a company restructuring plan, and officials are blaming an overall decline in demand.

"Business decisions that directly impact the lives of our employees are extraordinarily difficult," said Dick Wilkerson, chairman and president of Michelin North America. "This action is necessary, however, for the long-term health and competitiveness of Michelin North America. In this crisis, there is no more business as usual."

Michelin will also consolidate production at the BF Goodrich Tire Manufacturing facilities in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and Ft. Wayne, Indiana.

Company officials say they plan to work with government and community agencies as well as the United Steel Workers Union to assist the laid off workers.

In meantime, Governor Riley has directed the Governor's Office of Workforce Development to deploy its Dislocated Worker Unit Rapid Response Team to provide any needed assistance to those who will be affected by plant's closing.

This team has been in contact with company officials to schedule meetings with plant employees.