PITTSBURGH—About 8,000 United Steelworkers of America members at nine Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. manufacturing facilities have new three-year pacts with the company, as the union completed the ratification process Sept. 20.
Negotiators for the Nashville, Tenn.-based tire maker and the USWA reached a tentative agreement Sept. 4 on three separate deals—the master contract covering workers at seven plants; one for Local 787 at the company's Bloomington, Ill., off-the-road tire factory; and one for Local 1155 in Warren County, Tenn.
The agreement ended six months of negotiations and averted a strike which would have further troubled BFS, which is currently involved in a voluntary 6.5-million-tire recall.
For the master contract, six of seven locals approved it with only Local 884 in Russellville, Ark., voting against it, citing seniority issues as the main reason for its opposition.
To gain overall approval, the master contract had to be approved by a majority of the locals representing a majority of the union membership. Overall, the contract was approved by about a 4 to 1 margin, the Steelworkers said.
All the contracts will be retroactive to April 23, when the master contract expired, and will lapse April 23, 2003.
The agreements give the Bridgestone/Firestone workers gains in many areas, including wage raises totalling 65 cents per hour over the life of the contract; pension increases to $50 per month per year of service; and cost-of-living restorations that could push raises to as much as $2.30 per hour by 2003.