Bridgestone Firestone Employee Contract Extension Approved
Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire, LLC (BFNT) has announced that a substantial majority of workers at its Bloomington, Illinois OTR tyre facility have voted in favour of extending a contract covering work conditions through to 2012.
The agreement between BFNT and Local 787 of the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW) covers 300 employees at the plant, which makes large heavy-duty off road tyres for construction and mining applications. Under the agreement, workers at the facility will receive the same wage and benefit provisions contained in a separate “master” contract between the USW and the company as other BFNT locations and have agreed to a no-strike clause during the entire term of the extension.
“This is a very good extension for both sides,” said Ralph Burchfield, president of the Bridgestone Firestone Off Road Products Group. “Our teammates have worked very hard to help us meet the rising global demand for off road tires. This gives our teammates, our customers and our communities a sense of stability that this plant will continue to produce tyres with no interruption through 2012.”
Bridgestone Firestone says the company will continue to evaluate its global sourcing needs as the market demand for OTR tyres increases, and believes the Bloomington plant will play an important role in helping the company serve customer needs in this segment. The company adds that it will continue to invest in key facilities where there is stability, high productivity and an opportunity to make a reasonable return on investment, and thus this contract extension opens the door to new investment in the plant.
“We are pleased that the teammates have voted for this contract extension,” said plant manager Greg Halford. “It is an indication of great things to come down the road. We are looking forward to working together to ensure that we remain successful in a fiercely competitive global marketplace.”
In North America Bridgestone Firestone operates under four separate union contracts. The “master contract” covers tyre production facilities in Akron, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; LaVergne, Tennessee; as well as union workers at the Firestone tube plant in Russellville, Arkansas and the Firestone air spring plant in Noblesville, Indiana. The master contract expires in July 2009. The company also has separate union contracts with workers in Warren County, Tennessee; maintenance workers in LaVergne, Tennessee; and the Bloomington, Illinois contract, which is the subject of this extension agreement.