LA VERGNE, Tenn.-Members of United Rubber Workers Local 1055 at Bridgestone/Firestone Inc.'s La Vergne tire plant have been working without a contract since April 30, when the previous three-year pact expired. Negotiations broke off on that date, but the union decided not to strike because ``there was some movement in the right direction,'' said Tommy Powell, president of the 1,450-member local.
Union members now are working with a day-to-day contract extension, officials said. Contract talks resumed May 17, but no word on their progress was available at presstime May 25.
According to Mr. Powell, the major points of contention are:
Cost-of-living allowances, which the company wants to replace with performance-based bonuses;
Holidays-BFS wants union members to work those days if the company schedules it; and
Seniority-the tire maker wants to leave hiring and promotion solely up to its discretion, Mr. Powell said.
Additionally, the union wants to return to eight-hour shifts from the current 12-hour ones, he said.
Bridgestone/Firestone would not comment on the negotiations.
The La Vergne plant produces truck/bus, light truck and passenger tires.
Kelly plant could be strike target
FREEPORT, Ill.-As this issue went to press May 25, the 1,400 United Rubber Workers members at Kelly-Springfield Tire Co.'s farm tire plant in Freeport were to begin voting on a new contract.
On May 7, the members of URW Local 745 voted overwhelmingly to authorize union officers to call a strike if negotiations on a new contract were not productive.
The old three-year contract expired May 19.
Union and company officials declined comment on the new tentative agreement, reached May 21, until after the vote.
In an earlier interview, a Kelly-Springfield spokesman called the union's strike authorization vote a normal part of contract talks.
The two sides primarily were negotiating local work rules, he said, adding that the financial side of the contract would be based on parent company Goodyear's master contract with the URW.
Road user fees exceed spending
WASHINGTON-Road user taxes and fees far exceed the amount spent on roads every year, according to a study performed by the American Petroleum Institute and released by the Highway Users Federation April 27.
The study said the federal and individual state governments gleaned more than $114 billion in 1992 from fuel taxes, vehicle taxes and tolls, while spending just over $76 billion on road and bridge construction and repair.
This flies in the face of assertions from a White House advisory committee and environmental organizations that motorists don't pay their share of taxes and fees, according to federation President William D. Fay.
Governments gave the surplus to mass transit programs to cover their shortfalls, according to Mr. Fay; meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration says 242,567 miles of highway and 102,207 bridges need repair or replacement.
``We need to make those road repairs before we can start talking about anything else,'' he said.
Brad Ragan posts loss on record sales
CHARLOTTE, N.C.-A combination of higher merchandise acquisition costs, rising prices for natural rubber and increased interest rates pushed Brad Ragan Inc. $74,000 into the red for the first quarter of 1995.
At the same time, net sales grew 6.2 percent to $52.6 million, compared with the 1994 period, while total revenues reached a record $55.9 million.
A year ago, the Goodyear retail/commercial/retreading subsidiary earned $47,000 on net sales of $49.6 million.
For the full year 1994, Brad Ragan's earnings jumped 36.3 percent from 1993 levels to $3.84 million on a 3-percent increase in net sales to $234 million.
The sales increase came entirely from the company's commercial division; retail sales actually declined slightly, the company said.
Sudbury, IMT post improvement
CLEVELAND-Sudbury Inc., parent of Iowa Mold Tooling, reported net income of $3.02 million on sales of $76.2 million for the third quarter of its 1995 fiscal year, which ended Feb. 28.
Meanwhile, IMT, a Garner, Iowa-based maker of bodies for tire service trucks, said it achieved a record level of production, in dollar volume, in March-besting its previous record month by 6 percent. The unit said its sales totaled $44 million in fiscal 1994.
Sudbury's third-quarter sales represented a 25.5-percent improvement over the 1994 period, when the company lost $2.65 million-largely as the result of a one-time payment of $5.96 million to Chairman, President and CEO Jacques R. Sardas for achieving certain performance targets.
For the nine months, Sudbury earned $8.66 million on a 24-percent rise in sales to $218.3 million.
Robbing alters inner tube tattics
MUSCLE SHOALS, Ala.-Faced with the need for a major capital project to modernize inner tube production at its Muscle Shoals facility, Robbins Inc. decided to phase out production of its own inner tubes and, instead, distribute heavy-duty tubes made by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.
As a result, Robbins will be able to offer customers a broader line of inner tubes, manufactured with state-of-the-art technology, said President H.D. McCuistion.
Robbins will continue to produce envelopes, curing tubes and ``Uni-tubes'' at the Muscle Shoals plant, Mr. McCuistion stressed.