The manufacturing recession that's hurting anyone involved in vehicle production is lending credence to Morry Taylor's statements about his company's prospects. He probably would rather it didn't.
The United Steelworkers of America kick Taylor and Titan International Inc. every chance it gets, and Taylor kicks right back. Whenever Titan doesn't live up to Taylor's predictions, reports poor financial results, production shortfalls or training problems, the Steelworkers pepper the media with news releases condemning Taylor's veracity.
For 2001, Taylor has no optimism. The businesses Titan serves—tires and wheels for the agriculture, earthmover and construction markets—are in a slump. Even a never-say-die personality like Taylor won't forecast a recovery for his company under these conditions.
Taylor has a reputation as a turnaround expert, and was succeeding with Titan just five years ago. That might have been the time for him to declare victory, cash out and move onto another challenge. He's had little luck with the company since then.
Titan and the union members who have been striking since 1998 at the firm's Des Moines, Iowa, and Natchez, Miss., plants have set records for stubbornness. Neither side has shown a real willingness to compromise.
The first step toward rapprochement is to find things that mutually can be agreed upon. Here's one: Titan and the union both are suffering, and their prospects for the short term aren't good.
Build on it.