PITTSBURGH (June 21, 2005) — Workers at Bridgestone/Firestone's unionized U.S. tire and rubber plants are scheduled to vote June 28 and 29 on new contracts that will run into next July, but one local already has voted down a proposal from the company.
Members of United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1155 overwhelmingly rejected BFS' “last, best” offer June 17, with 85 percent of the voters saying no. The vote came just eight days after the bargaining committee representing eight USW locals at BFS sites reached a tentative agreement with the company. Local 1155 leaders, however, had refused to accept the tentative deal and recommended to members that they reject the offer.
Local President Ron Vining said the Warren County facility is the company's most profitable union plant, and the proposal is substandard for what the nearly 800 production workers there do every day. Mandatory overtime, vacation money, production rates and compensation for working 12-hour shifts are among the issues contested by the local members.
Local 1155 and USW Local 787 in Bloomington, Ill., are covered by separate contracts, while workers at BFS' other six unionized plants are covered by a master contract.
A BFS spokesman said the company is disappointed the workers in Warren County voted the contract offer down, but it's optimistic the other agreements will be approved. If ratified, the contracts will run through July 23, 2006.