MAYFIELD, Ky. (Oct. 12) — Continental Tire North America Inc. has reached an agreement with the United Steelworkers negotiating committee, subject to ratification by union members, on a retirement and severance package at the tire maker´s scaled-down Mayfield plant.
The union will meet for a vote on the offer Oct. 15, according to Terry Beane, president of United Steelworkers Local 665.
Under the tentative pact, some workers will receive early retirement while others will get severance packages, said Rick Holcomb, legal counsel for the firm. Company paid health benefits, under certain circumstances, are also part of the agreement, he said.
Employees with 25 years of service and those 55 and older with at least five years of service will be eligible for early retirement. Workers with less then 25 years of service will get a severance package based on the months of completed service with the company, with a minimum of $1,200.
In August, the tire maker said it would close the Mayfield facility in about six months, laying off an estimated 110 workers. Holcomb said the company will operate the factory until about Feb. 1.
Conti phased out tire production at Mayfield at the end of 2004, but "we´re still mixing rubber there for other Conti facilities and will continue to for as long as we need the capacity," Holcomb said.
In the event Continental should decide to reopen the plant within the next four years, the agreement calls for the company to recognize the USW and open up new contract talks. "We´d then offer employment to current employees under terms of a new contract," Holcomb said.
Beane was optimistic the pack would be ratified, noting that "we´re trying to make the best of a bad situation."