Woodstock Firestone plant set to close next year

Wednesday October 11, 2017
Written by Manufacturing AUTOMATION
Oct. 11, 2017 - Bridgestone Canada has announced the closure of its Firestone Fibers and Textiles facility based in Woodstock, Ont.

The closure will be conducted in phases beginning December 31, 2017, and operations will completely cease in the second half of 2018. According to a company statement, the plant will ramp down operations over an 18-month period, continuing to produce in Woodstock during the transition, while also leveraging existing assets in Kings Mountain, N.C., to meet customer demand.

“This has been an incredibly difficult decision that has come about only after extensive consideration and a thorough assessment of our business and operations,” said Bill Thompson, COO, Bridgestone Americas, the parent company of Bridgestone Canada. “There is a strong team at the Woodstock plant, and we are grateful for our employees’ contributions to our business and the community. In light of increasing global competition and difficult market conditions, however, it is no longer viable to maintain operations in Woodstock.”

The closure will affect 35 salaried employees and 135 hourly employees.

“We are committed to helping to reduce the impact of this decision on affected employees and the community,” Thompson said. “We are proud of our long-standing presence in Woodstock and our Canadian footprint, and are focused first on our employees through this transition, but also on our customers, suppliers and community partners.”

In addition to severance packages, Bridgestone is working with the union representing hourly employees at Woodstock to determine how to best support those affected, including exploring options such as outplacement assistance and onsite job fairs.

The Woodstock plant has been in operation since 1936 and currently produces Nylon 6 for external customers, and reinforcement materials for Bridgestone Americas Tire Operations, Firestone Industrial Products and Firestone Building Products.

Bridgestone will continue to have a presence in the Canadian market, including a large tire manufacturing plant in Joliette, Que., which received a $300-million investment to expand its operations last February.

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