CHARLOTTE, N.C. (May 2, 2006) — Continental Tire North America Inc. plans to reduce workers' wages by 15 percent at its Charlotte plant and make other cuts after it failed to reach agreement with the United Steelworkers on a new contract when the old pact expired April 30.
Conti declared an impasse in its negotiations with union members at the factory and said it would implement certain provisions of its final proposal beginning May 1. The provisions include wage rate cuts and lower pay for new workers hired, health care benefit cuts and elimination of pensions, according to the USW.The union denounced the decisions and filed unfair labor practice charges against the company with the National Labor Relations Board on both the impasse declaration and wage cuts. Ron Hoover, executive vice president of the USW, said the union will take every step necessary to see that the company's actions are reversed.
The company and USW Local 850 met for 12 hours April 30 but were unable to reach a contract agreement. The USW said it would continue to meet if the company agrees in order to keep tire production at the Charlotte plant.
“We are far from an impasse,” said Mark Cieslikowski, president of USW Local 850, which represents workers at the factory. “Our plan is to go through every avenue we can to try to resolve this.