QUINCY, Ill. (Sept. 10)—Titan International Inc. has reached tentative back-to-work agreements with the striking union locals at its Des Moines, Iowa, and Natchez, Miss., tire facilities, the company announced Sept. 7. The statement confirmed a United Steelworkers of America announcement of the agreement made earlier in the day. The strike in Des Moines by USWA Local 164 began May 1, 1998, and USWA Local 303 in Natchez walked out on Sept. 15, 1998—making their labor disputes with Titan the longest in tire industry history. Titan said union leaders informed the company the ratification votes would take place Sept. 19. Both sides said they wouldn't discuss specific contract issues until the votes are taken. "Work stoppages are never beneficial for either side of a labor dispute," said Titan CEO and President Maurice Taylor Jr. "We are encouraged that the membership will be given a chance to vote, and we are hopeful it will be approved."