Yokohama Tire Corp. and the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) have a new pact for the company's Salem tire plant that provides job security into 2007, maintains a cost-of-living allowance and increases the pension benefit.
After reaching a tentative contract agreement with the tire maker Jan. 15, members of USWA Local 1023 ratified the contract Jan. 29 by a 3-1 margin, said local President Mike Amos. About 80 percent of the local's 670-plus members voted in the election.
The deal runs through April 15, 2007, with the terms retroactive to June 4, 2003.
The pact includes no-plant-closure language, an important issue for the Steelworkers because of the tenuous economic conditions in the tire industry and the increase of tire imports, as well as some recent history. In the Goodyear/USWA master contract ratified in September 2003, the bulk of that company's tire facilities received protection from shutdown, but its Goodyear Dunlop factory in Huntsville, Ala., closed, affecting about 1,300 workers.
Bridgestone/Firestone also shut its Decatur, Ill., tire plant in 2001 in the wake of the Firestone/Ford tire recalls, only about a year after completing its 2000 contract with the Steelworkers.
Yokohama didn't provide details on the agreement, but Steve Kessing, the company's vice president of administration, said the tire maker is pleased with the agreement and that it was resolved amicably.
The Salem plant produces passenger, high-performance and light truck tires.