Union reaches agreement on closing Decatur plant

Monday, September 10, 2001

DECATUR, Ill. -- Union officials say the United Steel Workers have come to a plant closure agreement with Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. for the company's facility here.

Details of the agreement were to be discussed with the plant's union workers during a series of meetings Sunday and today conducted by USW Local 713.

Details of the closing had been under negotiation since Bridgestone/Firestone announced June 27 the Decatur plant would close by year's end.

The closing affects 1,380 employees, 100 contractors and 440 workers who were laid off in October.

The new agreement specifies closure dates, reductions in work force and severance payments, union officials said, but they declined to release details before the meetings with the workers.

Nonetheless, a sheet titled "Summary Memorandum of Agreement 9-8-01" posted Saturday in the Bridgestone/Firestone plant gave highlights of the pact. Union members gave a copy of the memo to the Decatur Herald & Review.

Among the provisions is the implication the plant will close Dec. 27 and the announcement there will be a reduction in work force during September of about 380 workers. Union members said the company wants the reduction completed by Sept. 24.

Volunteers will be sought before there is any involuntary termination.

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