ST. LOUIS (Aug. 21, 2000) — The United Steelworkers of America notified Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. on Aug. 18 that contract extension agreements keeping 8,000 union workers on the job at nine BFS plants in the U.S. will be terminated in 14 days, meaning they could walk out Sept. 1 if no contract is reached.
BFS and the USWA have been negotiating since March and the last contract expired April 23. The tire maker presented a comprehensive proposal Aug. 15, but the union said the proposal "fell far short of meeting the critical issues identified by the membership."
John Sellers, chairman of the USWA bargaining council, said he expects intensive bargaining to continue, but added: "It´s time to bring these negotiations to a conclusion. If an agreement is not reached during this time, a strike at every location is most probable."
The union elected to negotiate with BFS in an attempt to set a pattern agreement for the industry. USWA said it represents more than 75,000 workers in the tire and rubber industry in North America.