Fayetteville, N.C. — Goodyear plans to close its Fayetteville plant for two weeks as part of a nationwide effort to let demand catch up to supply.
Nearly 3,000 employees became out of work when the plant shut down at 1 p.m. Saturday, said Daryll Jackson, president of the Steelworkers Union Local 959. The plant normally produces around 30,000 tires a day.
Employees were encouraged to schedule vacation around the shutdown and will be eligible for unemployment benefits during the second week, Jackson said.
Jackson said about 70 percent of Goodyear's plants across the United States will be involved in the shutdown.
The tire manufacturer is letting plants idle, because high fuel prices and broader economic troubles have dampened demand, he said.
Goodyear recently reported that its domestic sales fell 6 percent in the second quarter of 2008.
The company might do another weeklong round of inventory reduction around Christmas if sales do not improve, Jackson said.
Goodyear is eligible for $24 million in economic incentives over the next 10 years as part of a package passed during a special session of the state Legislature in September 2007.
To receive the incentives, Goodyear must have at least 2,000 workers, invest $200 million over a six-year period and maintain average wages that are 40 percent higher than the local average to qualify. The company loses a portion of annual grant as its overall employments falls. If employment slips by 20 percent, Goodyear would lose its entire grant.