AKRON-Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. fired 36 striking workers during the last two weeks of December at plants in Iowa, Oklahoma and Illinois for incidents connected with the five-month United Rubber Workers union strike against the company. BFS said those fired were involved in incidents from late September until early December that included threatening other workers, slowing down cars trying to leave the plants and an alleged pipe-bombing.
``I guess the message we are sending to the URW is that we will not tolerate any type of violence toward the people who want to work,'' said a BFS spokesman.
URW officials said they will protest the company's actions.
The firings are the latest development in the five-month strike by the URW. No talks between URW officials and BFS management are scheduled.
Meanwhile, contract negotiations between the URW and Pirelli Armstrong Tire Corp. resumed, for the first time in weeks, Dec. 15-19 but then were halted until Jan. 9. About 1,000 URW members are striking PATC's tire plants in Nashville, Tenn., and Hanford, Calif.
PATC received another blow from a federal judge in Nashville who ruled Dec. 9 that the company could not unilaterally change the health benefits of its retired workers.
The company, which claims it lost $61.2 million in 1993 and will lose up to $55 million in 1994, announced plans in July to eliminate health care coverage for current and future retirees as part of a financial restructuring plan the ailing firm said would save $31 million annually.
But U.S. District Judge John T. Nixon said he did not believe the company's financial state was relevant to the case.
The ruling covers about 2,300 Pirelli retirees nationwide.
The URW, which has been on strike against tire makers since June, has called a special convention to be held Jan. 24 in Las Vegas to consider boosting the union's nearly depleted strike fund.
It is expected the union's 92,000 members will be asked to raise their dues that are paid to the fund.