Taylor: No plans for layoffs

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 9, 1999

Titan Tire has no plans to lay off employees at its Natchez plant or shut the factory down altogether, Chief Executive Officer Morry Taylor said Thursday.

The Dec. 8 issue of &uot;Solidarity News,&uot;&160;a newsletter of the United Steelworkers of America’s Titan International Council, said workers said they were told that layoffs would begin at the Natchez plant in January 2000.

The newsletter also stated that &uot;union officials also say that Titan supervisors are telling them that the company is facing a shutdown soon.&uot;

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Leo &uot;T-Bone&uot;&160;Bradley, president of USWA Local 303L, said he considers the workers that gave the information to union officials reliable sources.

&uot;We only know what they’ve told us,&uot;&160;Bradley said. &uot;We don’t know what kind of shutdown they’re talking about … or how extensive it would be.&uot;

But Taylor called the rumor a false one. &uot;(The union) can write anything they want,&uot;&160;he said.

&uot;The next newsletter will probably say everybody in Natchez should just dig a hole on Jan. 1 and hide.&uot;

Taylor said the plant’s November sales were its highest ever, and that more people work at the plant than when USWA Local 303L members went on strike September 1998. In May – the last time figures were available – the plant had about 200 employees, according to Taylor’s figures.

Meanwhile, Bradley said union&160;and Titan officials are no closer to continuing contract negotiations and ending the 15-month strike.

&uot;Taylor’s made it clear that talking to the union is the last thing on his list,&uot; Bradley said.