NASHVILLE, Tenn. (Oct. 28)—Negotiators for Bridgestone/Firestone and the United Steelworkers union will meet Nov. 16-17 in St. Louis to assess their contract positions and decide whether to schedule formal bargaining sessions in the near future.
The "preliminary" meetings will give the two sides an opportunity to exchange ideas and see if there is enough common ground to proceed to formal negotiation, a BFS spokesman said.
The company and union haven´t conducted contract talks since November of last year, when the USWA´s policy committee walked out on negotiations. The union claimed the company wasn´t addressing important items covered in the three-year September 2003 agreement with Goodyear, which the USWA wanted to serve as the tire industry pattern.
About 6,000 USWA members at eight BFS tire and rubber facilities have been working on extensions since their contracts expired in April 2003. The union reached accord with Michelin North America Inc.´s BFGoodrich tire manufacturing subsidiary, which employs about 3,400 production workers, in August.