KITCHENER, Ontario (June 1, 2004) — Production workers at Michelin North America (Canada) Inc.'s BFGoodrich tire unit in Kitchener went on strike at midnight May 31.
The strike, by about 1,000 members of United Steelworkers of America Local 677, is in protest of Michelin's asking for concessions in numerous areas, according to Wayne Fraser, director of USWA District 6.
Michelin wants its workers to contribute to health care benefits—something they haven't done before—accept job subcontracting, a two-tired wage system and lifetime caps on health benefits for future retirees as well as allow changes in their cost-of-living agreement, Mr. Fraser said.
Workers belonging to USWA Local 677 began setting up pickets outside the Kitchener site at midnight when their three-year contract with Michelin expired. The campaign should expand quickly to the company's customers, Mr. Fraser said.
The Kitchener facility produces passenger and light truck radial tires, with daily capacity of about 17,000 tires per day. A lengthy strike by Local 677 could curtail about 20 percent of Michelin's Canadian production, the USWA claims.