From Tire Review Staff & Wire Reports
FORT WAYNE, IN — Negotiations between the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) and three of Michelin North America’s BFGoodrich plants remain deadlocked just hours before a deadline that could result in a 3,500-worker strike.
The bargaining talks involve BFGoodrich’s three U.S. plants in Woodburn, Ind. (near Fort Wayne); Opelika, Ala.; and Tuscaloosa, Ala.
Joe Gengo, vice president of USWA Local 715, told a local Fort Wayne newspaper that BFGoodrich has refused to back off from the its demand that the plants reduce costs by 18 percent. BFGoodrich is also seeking reduced vacation time and pay, no retiree medical benefits for future hires and increased co-payments on medical and drug benefits, according to Gengo.
The previous three-year labor contract expired in April 2003. According to Gengo, the union’s contract deadline extended to midnight Wednesday.
“If there is no agreement by then, or close to an agreement by then,” he told the newspaper, “then there will be a strike.”
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