Progress Reported in BFNAT-USW Talks
(Akron/Tire Review) News reports from St Louis indicate union negotiators feel they are making progress in their contract negotiations with Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire (BFNAT). The two sides reportedly met through the Memorial Day weekend, and both sides said they expected to stay at the bargaining table through the first week of June.
At the same time, the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International (USW) plans to hold strike preparation meetings at eight BFNAT plants. The USW previously stated that if contract progress wasn’t made by 28 May, the union would be prepared to strike in July.
USW workers at the eight BFNAT plants have worked day-to-day since April 2003 under terms of their previous contract. Some 6,000 workers at BFNAT tyre plants are covered under the master contract, as well as an industrial rubber products plant in Noblesville, Indiana.
In a newsletter to BFNAT union workers, the USW negotiating team said: “To date, some progress has been made, but the sides remain far apart. Despite our large differences, the company (BFNAT) has expressed a desire to continue negotiations.”