PITTSBURGH (March 16) — The United Steelworkers union´s Rubber/Plastic Industry Conference — which represents workers in the tire, rubber and plastics industry — has pinpointed job security and retiree health care as the top bargaining issues for the upcoming year´s negotiations.
More than 120 delegates from 82 locals attended the union´s pre-negotiations conference March 14-16 in Pittsburgh, held to establish key bargaining priorities for upcoming contract talks. R/PIC traditionally holds its policy conference prior to the beginning of contract talks in the three-year tire industry cycle; this year contracts with Goodyear, Bridgestone/Firestone and Michelin North America Inc.´s BFGoodrich tire units expire in July.
The Policy Committee cited job security as the issue most important to the active membership. "Our families and communities depend on the good wages and benefits provided by the successful manufacturers," said Ron Hoover, USW executive vice president and head of R/PIC. "We will face serious challenges in this round of negotiations that will go far in defining our future, but there is no way that we will allow our retirees to become sacrificial lambs in the process."
Other key bargaining priorities for the R/PIC include neutrality/card check policies and retirement security the union said.
The USW represents about 70,000 tire and rubber industry workers.