Continental Tire North America Inc. has begun negotiations with the United Steelworkers (USW) union for a new labor pact at its Charlotte tire plant.
Conti said the current contract does not expire until April 30, but the tire maker asked the union to begin talks early to ``address high manufacturing costs at the Charlotte plant.''
``CTNA has informed the union that the Charlotte plant has the highest manufacturing costs of any Continental tire plant worldwide,'' said Rick Ledsinger, Conti's vice president of human resources. ``By working together with our employees and their union representatives, we hope that we can negotiate a new agreement that will reduce our manufacturing costs and assure the future success of the Charlotte plant.''
In June, Conti trimmed its production at the Charlotte plant by about 30 percent to 17,000 to 18,000 units a day. It cited high inventories and high manufacturing costs as reasons.
Earlier this year analysts said Conti executives stated they wouldn't rule out closing the plant if talks with the union don't yield progress.