Taylor: No decision on Titan cuts

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, January 16, 2001

Titan Tire officials will not make decisions about cutbacks at the company’s factories until after they visit the company’s Brownsville, Texas, plant sometime next week, Titan CEO Morry Taylor said Tuesday.

And Taylor reiterated that there are currently no plans to move assets, including equipment, from the Natchez plant.

&uot;We haven’t even visited Brownsville yet,&uot;&160;Taylor said.

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Taylor has said Titan officials are evaluating &uot;the direction the company’s going&uot; given an impending recession, and that if the company did decide to cut jobs, it would do so in Natchez.

Taylor said Thursday that one option being considered by Titan is to run the Natchez plant’s rubber mixing machines around the clock, producing a small amount of rubber for the Brownsville plant and selling the rest on the open market.

He added that if the company decided to produce only rubber at the Natchez plant, the plant’s tire-making equipment would probably be shipped to Titan’s factories in Brownsville or Des Moines, Iowa.

At least 20 workers were fired Wednesday from Titan Tire of Natchez, and at least 30 more were laid off Friday. That was despite Taylor’s comment on Thursday that the company was not planning any more layoffs.

Plant managers met with employees Monday, but conflicting reports surfaced Tuesday about the purpose of the meetings.

Some said workers were told the plant would soon be used only for mixing rubber for use in the Brownsville and Des Moines plants, and for warehouse space.

Others said workers were told that no cutbacks were imminent and that employees would be notified well in advance if such changes were planned.

On Monday, Taylor claimed no knowledge of Friday’s layoffs or subsequent meetings. And on Tuesday, in a telephone interview from the Des Moines plant, he said he still had not heard any information about the meetings.

And Plant Manager Dave Fines has repeatedly refused to comment on layoffs or the plant’s future, referring all calls to Taylor.