ST. LOUIS (May 31, 2005) — Negotiators for the United Steelworkers (USW) and tire maker Bridgestone/Firestone continued to bargain through the Memorial Day weekend toward a new contract despite a May 28 deadline set by the union the previous week.
The fact that the two sides spent the holiday weekend in negotiations was a good indication that some progress was being made, a USW spokesman said. Talks continued into the afternoon May 31, he said.
The union hasn't said how long its bargaining team intends to stay at the table without an agreement. When it set the May 28 negotiating deadline, it targeted mid-July as a time to strike if no positive movement was made toward a settlement.
About 6,000 unionized employees at eight U.S. BFS tire and rubber plants have been working on contract extension since the previous three-year contract with the company expired in April 2003.
Some of the main unresolved issues include job security and North American plant investment, import restrictions and neutrality.