Crain News Service report
PITTSBURGH (Aug. 12, 2013) — Members of United Steelworkers (USW) locals have approved a contract with Bridgestone Americas but rejected a deal with Michelin North America's BF Goodrich Tire unit.
USW members at Bridgestone Americas plants in Akron; Des Moines, Iowa; Russellville, Ark.; LaVergne, Tenn.; Warren County, Tenn.; and Bloomington, Ill., ratified by a 2-to-1 margin a four-year contract covering 4,500 workers at those factories.
Meanwhile, workers at BF Goodrich plants in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Fort Wayne, Ind., rejected a proposed three-year contract. The USW and the BF Goodrich tire unit will resume negotiations for 2,400 workers on Aug. 14 in Knoxville, Tenn., the union said.
USW international secretary treasurer Stan Johnson said the contract with Bridgestone "represents a significant step forward." The contract provides wage and pension improvements, protects health care coverage and made substantial gains for those hired in recent years, he added.
The USW said the new agreement provides a signing bonus and general wage increases for all employees in addition to improvements to the wage tier and benefit systems for new hires. It also increased pension contributions and protected retiree healthcare benefits.
The union and Nashville, Tenn.-based Bridgestone reached agreement in late July on a new collective bargaining agreement after several months of talks.
"We made sacrifices in the past when the company needed us to make them," said Randy Boulton, Bridgestone-Firestone coordinator for the USW.
"Now, with significant investments being made in the workers and in the plants, we're looking forward to a prosperous future."
Workers at Goodyear plants in Buffalo, N.Y.; Danville, Va.; Fayette-ville, N.C.; Gadsden, Ala.; Topeka, Kan.; and Akron were scheduled to start voting on their proposed four-year deal the week of Aug. 12.
This report appeared on the website of Rubber & Plastics News, an Akron-based sister publication of Tire Business.