CLEVELAND (July 8, 2005) — The National Labor Relations Board's (NLRB) office in Cleveland is waiting to hear evidence for the complaint filed by Continental Tire North America Inc. against the United Steelworkers (USW) over the stalled deal to sell Conti's off-the-road tire plant in Ohio.
Conti filed a charge of unfair labor practices against the union on June 29 based, the tire maker said, on the union's “refusal to enter into a labor agreement” with the potential buyer, Rosler Group of Dortmund, Germany. Conti signed a letter of intent with Rosler in January to sell the Bryan, Ohio, plant.
But the deal has been complicated by the successorship clause in the union's contract, calling for any buyer to forge an agreement with the union before a sale can be completed. Rosler and the union have disagreed sharply on their progress, with Rosler indicating that a memorandum of understanding (MOU) signed June 16 is binding while the union says its local rejected the MOU. Conti wants the NLRB to require the union to abide by the MOU.
Joseph Natale, an examiner at the NLRB's Cleveland office, said it gathers evidence from the charging party in the first two weeks or so, then gathers evidence from the charged party for its response. The examiner then compiles the evidence and presents it, along with relevant past cases, to the regional attorney.
That person then will decide whether to issue a formal complaint and set a court hearing or to dismiss the charge—a decision that could be appealed to the NLRB's office in Washington, D.C. This initial process generally takes about 45 days, Mr. Natale said.