HUNTSVILLE, Ala.-Striking workers at Dunlop Tire Corp.'s plant in Huntsville have filed a charge against the company with the National Labor Relations Board alleging unfair bargaining practices. The 1,500 members of United Rubber Workers Local 915 walked off the job when the old contract expired June 21.
Since then, the company has been operating the plant at substantially reduced capacity with about 180 salaried workers and 30 new hires, according to Local 915 President Gary Neeley.
The plant, which has the capacity to make 31,500 radial passenger and light truck tires a day, normally runs shifts of 400 people around the clock. It is running just eight to 10 hours a day at present, Mr. Neeley said.
Union representatives agreed to meet with company officials July 7 in Akron to review Dunlop's financial records. Mr. Neeley said he believes pressure to make good on orders in the face of depleting inventories prompted Dunlop to call the meeting.
Dunlop officials were unavailable for comment.
Although contract negotiations are not specifically on the agenda, such talks may stem from the records review. But much change is needed in the company's initial offer before workers will accept it, Mr. Neeley said.
Among the concessions he said Dunlop is seeking are:
An average reduction of 78 cents in workers' hourly wages;
Health care co-payments of 25 percent of the current premium and 50 percent on all future increases; and
The elimination of various jobs, job classifications and seniority benefits.
Dunlop has said all the items in its proposal are negotiable.
In its claim filed June 24 with the NLRB, the union local charged, among other things, that Dunlop enticed workers to withdraw from the union, and breached its contract when it discontinued medical benefits for workers on strike.
The NLRB now must investigate the charge and determine whether there is sufficient information to issue a complaint.
If a complaint is issued, Dunlop will have 10 days to answer; then there will be a hearing before an administrative law judge.