TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) -- Union employees of the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plant in Topeka have approved a contract that will allow the company to cut between 200 and 225 jobs.
Members of United Steelworkers Local 307 approved an agreement Thursday that modifies terms in its contract that required Goodyear to maintain certain staff and production levels at its Topeka plant.
Last week, the union and Goodyear reached a tentative agreement on proposed contract language.
"This agreement was made to improve the viability of the plant to improve its cost structure so that the Topeka facility shall remain competitive during these difficult times," the union said in a news release.
The Goodyear plant in Topeka employs about 1,600 workers currently.
Akron, Ohio-based company announced last month that it will cut nearly 5,000 jobs, or almost 7 percent of its work force, this year, following the elimination of about 4,000 jobs in the second half of last year.
Goodyear spokesman Whitney Watson says the company is reducing capacity in a division that makes medium radial tires used by commercial trucks as demand softens amid the economic downturn.
He says the Topeka divisions that make vehicles for off-the-road vehicles and military Hummers won't be affected.
Watson says the company has agreed to 105 buyouts in Topeka. He says the company also will reduce its Topeka workforce through voluntary and involuntary layoffs.
He said the timing of the layoffs will be announced in the next few weeks.
The union said in the news release that the agreement includes enhanced supplemental unemployment benefits to laid off employees.