28 April 2006
Being retired, as it were
Rumors are flying that Bridgestone/Firestone is about to announce the closing of the Dayton Tire plant on Oklahoma City's southwest side.
And apparently bling is a factor: the trend to bigger, bigger, farging humongous wheels is presumably working against Dayton, which builds no tire larger than 15 inches at this facility.
Dayton workers are represented by the United Steelworkers; their current contract, which was approved last June after two years on a day-to-day basis, expires this summer. The plant employs about 2000.
3:30 pm: Governor Henry says it's likely, but not absolutely graven in stone. [Video clip, preceded by brief ad.]
Posted at 1:58 PM to City Scene
"The Tennessean" Business Section this morning has a large headline "Tiremaker may close Oklahoma City plant".Goes on to say the plant lost $40M last year and projected to lose $60M this year. They mention foreign competition, but not tire size, as factors. Always sad to see plants close and jobs lost. It's hardest on the families.
I'm in business myself and understand that if I can't make at least a small profit on something, I should not be doing it. That's why we quit building our own house branded computers about 5 years ago. That was what I personally liked doing most, and we had built systems for almost 10 years. But when Dell's selling price curve dipped below our components cost curve, I said OK boys, that's it. Now we're just network consultants and service techs. Not as much fun, but more profitable.
Dang, didn't mean to go off on a tangent and comment longer than the post was! Sorry...
In 2004, Senator Debbe Leftwich (D-OKC) wrote up an incentive package specifically for Dayton; for some reason, they never used it. This suggests that they've been thinking about this for a long time, and the fact that the USW contract is about to run out ... well, imagine that. (Leftwich comments here.)
Meanwhile, the state's other two tire plants (Goodyear in Lawton and Michelin in Ardmore) are flourishing. Given similar economic conditions statewide, I have to assume that they made better use of their facilities and the incentives extended to them.
I think you picked up the scent, CG. This is probably an attempt to explore how many concessions Dayton can extract from suppliers, taxpayers, and workers.