DES MOINES, Iowa-After two weeks of negotiations that brought the longest strike in tire industry history to the brink of a settlement, things were very quiet in Des Moines the week of Aug. 13.
No bargaining sessions between Titan International Inc. and the United Steelworkers of America took place during the week, and as of press time there were none scheduled for the weekend of Aug. 18-19 or beyond.
A USWA spokesman said he expects talks to continue in the near future.
The two sides' meetings during the weeks of July 30 and Aug. 6 brought the dispute-which began when USWA Local 164's 670 members walked out May 1, 1998-close to a tentative contract agreement. In fact, Titan issued a statement Aug. 2 saying a tentative agreement had been reached.
The USWA disputed the claim, saying agreements had been made on several issues, but no tentative back-to-work agreement would be reached until all issues had been addressed.
Local 164 staffed Titan's Des Moines farm tire plant before the strike began 39 months ago. In the meantime, the factory has kept up production through the use of replacement workers.
Titan CEO and President Maurice Taylor Jr. said he would find jobs for the 500 non-union workers when the strike ends.