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Wilson Firestone Plant Workers Wonder About Uncertain Future

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The plant produces 42,000 tires a day.(WRAL-TV5 News)
WILSON — TheFirestonetire furor may eventually hit very close to home for some North Carolinians. The company's Wilson manufacturing plant employs 2,200 people, many of whom are concerned about facing an uncertain future.

Karen Bass' husband has worked at the plant for two decades. She is concerned about what may happen.

"At first, we felt like, 'Well, this is just something that won't affect us, and it will just blow over,'" she says.

If the plant closed, thousands would be out of work.

"It could affect my kids going to college,'" she says. "We would probably lose our home. Everything that we've worked 26 years of our lives to have."

Firestone is the largest employer in Wilson. Workers depend on the company for their livelihoods; the community depends on the company for economic growth.

Bass says thatFord Motor Companyand other tire manufacturers who have had similar problems should share in the blame. She believes in the Firestone name.

"I've been using Firestone tires for 23 years, and I've never had any problems with those tires," she says.

The plant manager in Wilson says work continues, despite the controversy. The Wilson plant makes 90 different types of tires, producing 42,000 tires every day.

Firestone wants to make sure those recalled tires stay off the road. The tiremaker will pay $10 for each of its recalled tires that consumers return to dealers. The company says the idea is to spur returns and keep recalled tires away from used-tire dealers.