Workers address Titan shareholders DETROIT—About 90 members of Steelworkers locals striking at Titan International Inc. tire plants took their fight to the company's shareholders last month.
The group, representing United Steelworkers of America Local 164 in Des Moines, Iowa, and USWA Local 303 in Natchez, Miss., entered the May 20 annual meeting in Detroit to ask questions of Titan management—including President and CEO Morry Taylor—and share their plight with company stockholders. Local 164 struck May 1, 1998, while Local 303 walked out Sept. 15.
The union contingent asked Mr. Taylor questions about the company's financial and business situations, Local 164 President John Peno said. The CEO walked out after a Des Moines-based religious group presented a petition supporting the union and condemning Titan's use of replacement workers, he claimed.
But Mr. Taylor said he answered questions for about 45 minutes and allowed Mr. Peno and Local 303 President Leo T. Bradley to address the shareholders.
``There's not a CEO in the country who would have stayed there and took questions like I did,'' Mr. Taylor said. ``After 10 people, most of whom weren't even shareholders, come up asking the same questions, that's enough.''
Mr. Peno said he and Mr. Bradley talked about Titan's financial problems since the strikes began, the slow ramp-up at Titan's new tire plant in Brownsville, Texas, and the failure of contract negotiations.
Conti shareholders kill union proposal
HANOVER, Germany—Shareholders of Continental A.G. refused to back a United Steelworkers of America proposal that would have prevented the company or its subsidiaries from hiring workers to permanently replace union employees.
The proposal, made during the German tire maker's annual stockholders' meeting in Hanover June 2, was presented by USWA officials representing 1,450 members of Local 850, on strike at Continental General Tire's passenger tire plant in Charlotte, N.C., since September.
Conti General has hired about 900 strikebreakers at the plant, which is operating at about 70 percent of pre-strike capacity, said Michael Polovick, the firm's human resources director.
Conti said during the meeting the strike has cost between $5.5 million and $6 million so far in 1999.
The USWA proposal was part of its international campaign against Continental, in which it asks unions in the U.S. and Europe to support the Charlotte workers.
No talks are scheduled between the two sides, which haven't met since mid-March.