KITCHENER, Ontario (Aug. 24) — Union employees at Michelin North America Inc.´s Kitchener plant approved a tentative agreement with the tire maker, with 94 percent of employees lending their support.
United Steelworkers of America Local 677 members, who had been on strike since June 1, plan to return to work Aug. 25, said Marty Warren, the local president. He said the plant should be back up to full steam within two weeks of their return.
The union said the Michelin agreement provides wage and benefit improvements for its 1,000 members in Kitchener. It also ensures that the Kitchener and three U.S. plants — Tuscaloosa and Opelika, Ala., and Fort Wayne, Ind. — will be protected from closure through the life of the agreement. Michelin also agreed to protect against contracting out union members´ work, the union said.
In the agreement, Michelin also agreed to spend $150 million in capital expenditures at all four plants to increase the flexibility to produce higher-margin, larger branded tires.
The agreement will face votes in the U.S. plants soon. If ratified, all collective agreements would expire on the same date, July 22, 2006.