FREEPORT, Ill./DES MOINES, Iowa (Dec. 22)—United Steelworkers union Local 745 in Freeport, Ill., ratified a new five-year contract with Titan International Inc. Dec. 21, paving the way for the farm tire manufacturer to purchase the plant there from Goodyear.
Titan and Goodyear announced the $100 million deal back in February, but the completion of the transaction was delayed several times because Titan and the USW failed to reach a new agreement. The sale now is expected to close Dec. 28.
The 740-member local approved the new pact, which runs through Nov. 19, 2010, with a vote of 78.1 percent for and 21.9 percent against.
Union workers at the company's agricultural tire plant in Des Moines, Iowa, also ratified a new contract that will run concurrent with the Freeport pact. The nearly 500 members of USW Local 164 overwhelmingly approved the agreement, which will replace the deal with Titan that was to expire in December 2006.
Members of Local 164 went on strike at the Des Moines plant in 1998 and stayed out for 40 months, marking the longest strike in tire and rubber industry history.
Highlights of the contracts include wage and pension increases; a guarantee of no plant closure during the agreements; the maintenance of current health care plans; product protection language guaranteeing that products sold by Titan must be manufactured in Des Moines or Freeport; neutrality and card check recognition; and a commitment to capital expenditures necessary to maintain and improve the plants' competitiveness.