ST. LOUIS (Oct. 31)—Negotiators for Bridgestone/Firestone and the United Steelworkers of America have a long way to go towards a contract settlement, if the Oct. 27 proposal from the company is any indication. BFS told the union it "cannot and will not follow" the three-year pattern agreement reached with competitor Goodyear back in September, according to an Oct. 30 release from the USWA. The company proposal contains no commitment to North American production or job security—key issues addressed in the pattern—and asks for concessions in several other areas, a union spokesman said. The Nashville tire maker's offer ignored several items from the Goodyear agreement, plus it contained no pension benefit improvements and asked for health care concessions, the union said. BFS would not comment on the details of its proposal or the issues at the bargaining table, but a company spokesman stressed that it is early in the negotiating process and there would be a lot of dialogue and information exchanges to come. USWA officials will examine the new proposal closely and communicate back to its membership before taking further steps, the union spokesman said.