AKRON-Workers at the General Tire plant in Mayfield, Ky., agreed to changes in their collective bargaining agreement Dec. 30 after the company told them nearly 200 people would be laid off. United Rubber Workers Local 665 in Mayfield approved the bargaining agreement 934-500, after originally voting it down by a wide margin earlier in the month.
In the interim, and with the knowledge of the planned layoffs at the Mayfield plant, URW Local 890 members at General's Bryan, Ohio, off-the-road plant ratified a three-year agreement that included work rule changes similar to those initially rejected at Mayfield.
At Mayfield, the new contract took effect immediately and calls for work-rule changes designed to make the plant, which employs 1,600, more competitive, according to a General spokesman who said the pact:
Creates a more flexible maintenance staff;
Provides for contract buy-outs of employees who are at least 55 years old and have worked at the plant for 25 years or more; and
Will let union members vote this month on which of three continuous operation schedules to adopt in times of high consumer demand.
Last November, General reopened the Mayfield union contract nearly one year before its expiration date in hopes of increasing plant productivity.
Shortly thereafter, General announced it would move about 40 percent of Mayfield's passenger tire production to lower-cost facilities, freeze all future capital expenditures at the plant and establish outplacement services for the 190 affected employees.
As a result of the contract renegotiation, General said it has canceled the changes it was to implement at the Mayfield plant.