PITTSBURGH, Pa. (March 9)—The United Steelworkers of America has begun making strike preparations at union locals at three U.S. Bridgestone/Firestone plants and is planning strike training sessions at five other BFS plants.
BFS's master contract with the USWA expired in April 2003, and 6,000 employees at the eight unionized BFS facilities have been working under a day-to-day extension since then. Either side can terminate the extension by issuing a five-day notice, the USWA said.
Strike preparations have begun at union locals in Des Moines, Iowa; LaVergne, Tenn.; and Russellville, Ark. Strike preparation training sessions are set to begin in the coming two weeks at locals in Akron; Noblesville, Ind.; Bloomington, Ill.; Oklahoma City; and Warren County, Tenn.
"In negotiations, the company still resists our demands that it grow and invest in our plants in order to secure the future of our plants and increase their share of new and higher margin products," said John Sellers, USWA executive vice president. "There´s no way that our members will accept a contract that allows BFS to export our jobs and replace our production with imports and goods produced at non-union plants."
Unlike Goodyear and Michelin´s BFGoodrich unit that have made long-term commitments to U.S. manufacturing, BFS has not committed to make investments in Steelworker-represented facilities, the USWA said.