AKRON, OH — Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plans to close its warehouse and distribution center in Lincoln, Neb., between July and the end of the year, effectively cutting 160 jobs.
According to a company press release, Goodyear will transfer warehouse activities to an undisclosed logistics firm. Goodyear currently operates two large hangars and two smaller buildings in Lincoln, totaling about 290,000 square feet. The company’s new warehouse will be a single, larger building, the release said.
Goodyear spokesman Skip Scherer said that Lincoln’s strategic importance for the company has declined as the center of the business has “migrated eastward.” Scherer said the decision to relocate the Lincoln distribution center to another city would shorten delivery times to customers.
He said Goodyear is in discussions with the firm that will operate the new distribution center but hasn’t yet signed a contract. Scherer didn’t say whether Goodyear would save money with the move, but he said the company expects to see other benefits.
Last year, when Goodyear signed a labor agreement with the United Steelworkers of America covering 14 plants, a Lincoln plant, which makes belts and hoses, was placed on a “protected list,” meaning it would stay open at least until July 2006. However, the distribution center was excluded from the list.
Gary Schaefer, vice president of Steelworkers Local 286, which represents Lincoln Goodyear workers, said staffers from the union’s international headquarters in Pittsburgh and managers from Goodyear’s Akron, Ohio, headquarters will meet to negotiate how the closing will proceed. The company employs about 1,135 Steelworkers in Lincoln.
In other news, Standard & Poor’s Ratings Services said that its BB- corporate credit and other ratings on Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. remain on CreditWatch with negative implications. The ratings were originally set on Dec. 11, 2003.
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