PITTSBURGH, Pa.-The National Labor Relations Board has consolidated the Rubber Workers' unfair labor practice charges against Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. and plans to hear both sides' testimony beginning Oct. 15. Meanwhile, the Rubber Workers union, part of the United Steelworkers of America, added three unfair labor practice claims to the case against BFS.
The latest complaint brings to 18 the number of unfair labor practice allegations against the Nashville, Tenn.-based tire maker. The union's three most recent claims allege Bridgestone/Firestone:
Discharged 128 strikers by falsely telling them they had been permanently replaced;
Illegally fired 22 workers for alleged misconduct on the picket line; and
Caused a contractor doing business with the firm to fire two strikers it had hired.
The dispute dates back to July 12, 1994, when about 4,000 Rubber Workers struck BFS facilities in Akron; Decatur, Ill.; Des Moines, Iowa; Noblesville, Ind.; and Oklahoma City. The union ended its strike in May 1995, but about 500 workers have yet to be recalled.
The union wants the company to rehire the 500 not yet recalled, as well as all ``illegally fired'' workers, and issue them back pay.
BFS has pledged to fight the union's claims through whatever legal channels are necessary. Should an administrative law judge rule against the tire maker, the company can petition the NLRB in Washington, the U.S. Court of Appeals and the U.S. Supreme Court.