Workers were notified that the global tire manufacturer had moved up its timetable to shut the doors of the Union City plant at the beginning of their shifts, according to Goodyear Union City Communications Manager Clint Smith.
The company announced its intentions to close the Union City plant in February, informing the 1,900 employees at the time that the facility would be shut down by the end of the year.
"When (Goodyear) made the announcement, (they said we would close) by the end of the year. They did not give a specific date," said Smith, who said a variety of factors allowed the company to shut its doors just five months to the day after the initial announcement.
Smith said those factors included customer requirements and the ability of other Goodyear plants to build the tires formerly created in the West Tennessee plant. Goodyear was able to meet the needs of its tire customers without the use of the Union City facility in a shorter amount of time than first anticipated by company officials.
The 1,800 workers still employed at the Union City plant learned of the closing date as they arrived at work at the beginning of their shift. The first group informed were employees arriving to work third shift at 11 p.m., on Sunday, July 10. First shift workers were informed at 7 a.m., on Monday, July 11.
"Employees were told when they reported to work that production had ceased," said Smith. "They were allowed to get any personal items they had and then they left the plant. (The other shifts will be) told as they come into work."
In accordance with the WARN Act, employees affected by the closing will be paid as if they had worked for the next 60 days.
"While Goodyear's move to end production at its facility in Union City was not unexpected, it is a tragic loss for all the hardworking employees and surrounding communities," said Congressman Stephen Fincher, in a press release issued just after the Goodyear announcement. "Our economy has been through trying times and Goodyear's announcement to shutter its plants doors certainly does not ease the pain. I have spent much time meeting with people throughout the community and I am confident that its roots are strong and we will rebuild better than before."