Roesler/USW Reach Stalemate Over Bryan OTR Plant
If you ask the USW in Bryan, Ohio, whether or not Roesler are going to buy Continental’s OTR tyre plant, they will say no. Ask Roesler management and it’s a completely different answer.
This week local representatives of the USW published a statement saying that the proposed plan to sell the CTNA plant to the German Roesler Group was off because the two sides had failed to agree on a satisfactory labour agreement. “We went the extra mile in trying to reach a new contract agreement,” said John Bowling, the USW/Continental Tire Unit chairman. “We just couldn’t get a deal.”
However judging by what Roesler‘s management told Tyres & Accessories, the union may have been jumping the gun. In direct contradiction to what was published by the union, managing director, Martin Roesler told T&A: “We have a deal.”
The confusion appears to have been caused by an internal power struggle within the American trade union. While there seems to be agreement between Roesler and the union at the national/international level, local representatives are point blank refusing to accept the deal. This means that although managing directors Martin and Paul Roesler got as far as negotiating a “memorandum of understanding”, local union negotiators have refused even to submit this to members for fine tuning. As far as the union is concerned, the memorandum was purely “provisional in character.”
Martin Roesler said he was surprised to have returned from what he thought were successful negotiations in the US only to find that there was still more work to be done. For him the entire procedure has been “extremely difficult.”
Now, in order for the situation to move forward there must be “discussions within the trade union,” so that the internal differences of opinion can be straightened out, demanded the managing director. However there is also precedent for forcing through national decisions on a local level. Whether or not the situation will progress in this way is not clear. But in the meantime, those involved will no doubt be consulting their lawyers on the details of how to proceed.