'Sub-pay' fund depleted for Goodyear associates
By Sabrina Bates, Chief Staff Writer
Posted: Tuesday, August 19, 2008 10:38 am
More than 2,200 local employees will flood the unemployment line within the next two weeks waiting for compensation after a Union City plant announced a production shutdown.
Employees of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. in Union City received word from the plant of a planned two-week production shutdown to take place from Saturday, Aug. 16 until Aug. 31.
With the hopes of obtaining a supplement check to help offset wages, more than 2,000 workers learned the “sub-pay” trust fund contracted between the company and the United Steelworkers was depleted, leaving the employees with only unemployment compensation during the shutdown.
According to USW Executive Vice President Ron Hoover, the “sub-pay” trust fund was designed as supplemental income during a company lay-off.
“The company puts so many cents into the fund which is based on hours worked. When you have three large plants who will not be working, it’s uncertain how much money will be put back into the sub-pay fund,” Hoover explained.
Goodyear of Union City joined four sister plants that produce passenger tires in an effort to curtail production to meet consumer demand this month.
While different factors are taken into consideration for disbursement of the sub-pay trust fund, employees typically expect to receive up to 80 percent of actual wages earned during a 40-hour workweek in the event of a production shutdown through the manufacturing company.
Hoover said as of right now, the trust fund is depleted leaving 2,200 local employees of the Union City factory dependent upon unemployment compensation.
In Tennessee, if a worker files for unemployment, he or she must have a waiting week before receiving compensation. During the two-week shutdown at the plant, Goodyear associates affected by the work stoppage will receive a maximum state unemployment benefit of $275 for one week.
Other North American Goodyear plants impacted by the weakness in the replacement tire business include Gadsden, Ala., Lawton, Okla.; Fayetteville, N.C. and Napanee, Ont.
According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, Goodyear announced an increase in tire prices with consumer-brand tires rising as much as 10 percent starting Sept. 1 while commercial-tire prices will be boosted by 7 percent, said Goodyear spokesman Jim Davis.
Goodyear, North America’s largest tire maker, posted second-quarter net income of $75 million, or 31 cents a share, up from $56 million, or 26 cents, a year earlier.