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Goodyear closing Alabama plant that employs more than 400

April 24, 2020 GMT

GADSDEN, Ala. (AP) — Goodyear is permanently closing a nearly century-old tire plant that once employed thousands of people in Alabama.

Papers filed by the Ohio-based company show it has reached a deal with labor to shutter its plant at Gadsden for good. The plant is temporarily shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic.

A document shows the company accepted 740 buyouts at the sprawling factory last year, and news outlets report it laid off about 100 people in February, leaving about 410 workers.

Members of the local United Steelworkers union still must approve the agreement. The Gadsden Times reported that meetings with members begin Monday.

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The plant once employed more than 4,000 people and was the first major tire plant built in the South when it opened in 1929. Goodyear said it is closing the factory as it eliminates production of less-profitable consumer tires.

Gadsden was one of five plants protected from closing through 2022 under a labor contract approved in 2017. That’s why union approval was the shutdown is required.

The company previously announced it would end production in Gadsden in 1999, but a new labor deal avoided a closure then.

The plant was expanded in 2015, but Goodyear has since concentrated more work at plants in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and San Luis Potosi, Mexico, that can match Gadsden’s full-strength output of 6.2 million tires annually but at lower costs.