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Steelworkers Angry Over Michelin Plant Closure

(Akron/Tire Review) As expected, United Steelworkers officials in Canada and the U.S. reacted bitterly to the news that Michelin North America (MNA) was planning to close its 44-year-old broadline tire plant in Kitchener, Ontario.

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"It is outrageous that the company has never discussed alternatives with the union and simply dropped a bomb on the whole city," said Wayne Fraser, USW’s Ontario/Atlantic director. "It is a mean-spirited, terrible way to treat workers, their families and the whole community."

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Fraser vowed that the union will work to stop the closure, which is planned for July 22. “It is our intention to sit down with the company as soon as possible and explore every available option for saving production at the Kitchener plant.”

"We’re extremely disappointed that the company intends to take this action without involving us in any discussions that lead up to this decision," said Ron Hoover, USW executive vice president. "I thought we had a better relationship than this."

MNA officials said that overcapacity in its “mass market” passenger tire plants in North America was the chief reason for the planned plant closure. Needed production will be shifted to MNA plants in Alabama and Indiana.

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"The damage being done to the North American economy by cheap imports is something that needs to be addressed,” said Hoover.

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