Revised BFNAT Pay Plan Rejected
Workers at the Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire facility in La Vergne voted strongly against a revised contract with the tyremaker on August 23, placing a question mark over the future of the plant and its almost 1,200 non-salaried workers. Employees voted 488 to 225 against a proposal containing provision for an incentive-pay plan linking potential income with productivity.
“We are disappointed. We believe this vote was critical to the plant’s future,” Bridgestone spokesman Dan MacDonald said. “To be successful in a fiercely competitive global economy this plant needs to improve productivity. It is not at a level to make us globally competitive. We don’t set the rules, the marketplace does.” MacDonald added that decisions about the factory would need to be made “down the road.”
President of the local United Steelworkers branch, Gary Manning, said the vote against the contract was no surprise. “Workers didn’t have any real assurances that this would really protect the plant,” Manning said. “The biggest problem here was not knowing what the numbers (would) be, how much these workers would be expected to do and under what terms.”
While pay rates were not to decrease under the new contract, Bridgestone would have increased a number of production minimums at the plant. The exact levels they would reach under the new contract were not disclosed to employees before the vote.