Bad Goodyear news on minds of grid bosses
Posted: Friday, July 22, 2011 12:02 am
By: By KENNETH COKER, Press Sports
None of the skippers at the four Weakley County football-playing institutions can look into a crystal ball and tell what the future ultimately holds.
However, they weren’t naive enough to believe that the recent closure of Union City’s Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company plant wouldn’t have an effect on their programs.
More than 1,800 employees of the company were left without a job last week — or at the very least with the option of having to move and work at another Goodyear factory — when the plant closed.
Of that workforce, 384 are listed as residents of Weakley County.
“It can’t help,” said Westview skipper Don Coady said when asked how the plant’s closure might hit his football program. “Anytime a large employer goes out of business, it affects the entire community.”
Coady told that his team did have a few players with parents that worked at Goodyear, but that he has not heard of any relocations among that group.
“It’s new enough that most of the families affected probably don’t know what the future holds,” Coady explained. “I think it could also hurt the companies that supplied Goodyear with parts and we could see some of those businesses shutting down or moving out.
“I know at Westview, you could walk into just about any classroom and ask who has a parent that works at Goodyear and a few hands would go up. I expect the closing will have an affect on the schools, community and day-to-day life.”
Greenfield skipper Jason Rodehaver, whose father Rick took the plant’s buyout option a few years back after 35 years of service, agreed that many businesses — and schools for that matter — in the area would take a hit.
Rodehaver has first-hand experience of a similar situation.
When he was 11, the Jackson, Mich., Goodyear plant where his father was employed closed its doors.
The family relocated to Fulton and his father transferred to the Union City plant.
“I don’t think we had very many kids on the team that have a direct connection to Goodyear, but it will trickle down to us eventually,” Rodehaever said. “There are quite a few mom-and-pop operations that depend on Goodyear employees stopping in and I don’t know if they’ll survive.
“We got back up to Jackson (Mich.) to visit every couple years and it’s took a hit, but the town’s still holding on. I think that’s because there are more industrial jobs in the area to compensate for Goodyear shutting down. I don’t see a lot of that here in the south.”
Dresden mainstay Scott Hewett, who has watched numerous manufacturing plants depart the landscape of his community over the years, also believes some impact will be felt throughout the area surrounding Union City.
“The people that worked there weren’t just from Union City,” Hewett said. “They were from all over. It won’t just hurt the Union City residents and schools. I think it will be felt a lot less throughout Dresden, but there will still be some people that are looking for work.
“I feel bad for those that lost their jobs because one is tough to come by in this economy.”
Meanwhile at Gleason, high school/middle school skipper Noah Lampkins is optimistic that his program won’t be as directly hurt by the Goodyear plant’s closing.
Geographically, “Tater Town” is the Weakley County community that is farthest away from Union City.
“I don’t think we’ll take a big direct hit,” said Lampkins of the situation. “It may affect us down the line — if other businesses fail — to some extent. I would expect that when a major industrial plant closes.”