DES MOINES, Iowa-Morry Taylor touts his job-creating skills and ``real understanding of what working men and women. . . are going through.'' But the Titan Wheel International Inc. owner is in hot water after his Dico Inc. subsidiary, in February, filed a lawsuit in Polk County District Court asking it to overturn a ruling granting unemployment benefits to 56 former workers who lost their jobs when Dico's Des Moines wheel plant closed.
Even union workers at Titan Tire have gotten into the fray, filing a grievance complaining that 30 Dico workers who did take jobs at Titan Tire are being paid higher wages than the employees who were already at the Des Moines unit.
In spring 1995, Titan Wheel said it was closing the Dico plant. But all 115 production workers were to be offered jobs at Titan Tire, which said it was expanding its work force by 200.
Many Dico workers said they weren't offered jobs at the factory and that openings were merely posted, said Robert Connett, business agent for the International Association of Machinist and Aerospace Workers Local 254 at the Dico plant.
Dico sued after the state Employment Appeal Board in January upheld an administrative judge's ruling that the workers qualified for benefits, according to William Whitten, the board's lawyer. The board ruled that posting job openings wasn't the same as offering positions to the workers, he said, so workers were eligible for benefits.
Titan contends it posted the openings to find out how many Dico employees wanted to work at Titan Tire, then the company would accommodate them as long as workers informed Titan by July 26 that they wanted a job. The union-which accuses Mr. Taylor of being anti-union-argues Titan only posted jobs for ``qualified applicants.''