Friday, July 26, 2013

Bridgestone/Firestone union set to strike

Inspector Mark Tomlinson looks over a freshly made tire at the Bridgestone/Firestone tire plant in Des Moines in March 2010. A union member vote came back this week with overwhelming support for strike action if negotiations fall through before the current contract expires this weekend. The contract affects 1,400 plant workers.
Union leaders representing 1,400 workers at the Bridgestone/Firestone tire plant in Des Moines say a strike is possible if contract negotiations falter before a four-year contract expires tonight at midnight.

In the meantime, union members plan a rally today.
“We want to let (negotiators) know that we are right behind them,” United Steelworkers Local 310 vice president Dan Kenney said Thursday. “We hope the company sees the sincerity in its employees.”
Kenney said a member vote came back with overwhelming support for strike action, if current negotiations fall through. He characterized discussions as “not really close.”
Workers were prepared to work on a day-to-day contract if a tentative long-term deal appeared likely, Kenney said.
Bridgestone said in a statement: “With the talks ongoing and many issues under negotiation, we believe it is premature and detrimental to the process to discuss any details of the talks or our positions on the issues.”
The company added, though, that economic challenges remain and new labor contract negotiations will reflect those challenges, which include “ever-increasing global competition.”
The rally starts at 11 a.m. on the corner of Northwest Second Street and Northeast Broadway Avenue. The plant produces tires for agriculture, forestry and construction equipment markets.

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