The Charlotte Observer

August 10, 1995

Goodyear's flip side a downside
When asking for state money for Iredell plant, tire maker didn't mention the loss of Charlotte jobs

Stella M. Eisele, Staff Writer

Copyright © 1995, The Charlotte Observer

While negotiating for N.C. tax dollars to build a factory in Statesville, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. didn't tell state officials it was shutting down some Charlotte operations and cutting jobs.

Goodyear announced the $14 million project on Tuesday, saying the $180,000 state grant clinched its decision to build the tire mold plant in the Statesville Business and Industrial Park. The factory is expected to open next spring with 80 workers. The company, based in Akron, Ohio, said employment could increase to 180 workers.

Angie Harris, an N.C. Commerce Department spokeswoman, said Wednesday that Goodyear did not tell them it was moving its distribution operations to Atlanta by Dec. 1. The move eliminates 13 Charlotte jobs. The company also is closing its Charlotte sales offices, which employ 17 people. One person in sales is being laid off, two retired, three transferred and 11 will work out of their homes, compared with seven who had operated from home offices.

One of the grant guidelines - set in June after problems with some recipients - is that companies get money only as jobs are created, and jobs transferred from an existing factory don't qualify as new jobs. Harris said the transfer guideline doesn't apply in this case because the Statesville manufacturing jobs are so different from the Charlotte jobs.

``I do wish that we had known,'' Harris said of the closures. But, she added, ``It's just not relevant. . . . We're still thrilled that we provided a $180,000 grant.''

Keith Price, a Goodyear spokesman, said they didn't mention the Charlotte closure during negotiations with the state because it's ``totally unrelated.'' He said laid off Charlotte workers could apply for the Statesville jobs.

The state money comes from the Governor's Industrial Recruitment Competitive Fund, which came under fire earlier this year when one company shut down an existing N.C. plant after receiving grant money to open a new one. Another company went out of business shortly after receiving money from the fund.

``The whole thing is bad, and this just proves it,'' said Don Carrington, research vice president at the John Locke Foundation, a conservative Raleigh think tank that opposes such incentives. ``The process is full of problems, no matter how well-intentioned the people.''

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Copyright © 1995, The Charlotte Observer.

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