PITTSBURGH (Jan. 16) — The United Steelworkers union has secured master contracts running into 2009 with two tire makers and is now looking to complete the 2006 bargaining season by reaching an agreement with Bridgestone/Firestone.
Negotiators for both sides plan on convening in St. Louis Jan. 30 to work on a deal covering more than 6,000 workers at eight U.S. BFS tire and rubber product plants. Talks will restart after several months of inactivity as the Goodyear/USW negotiationsùand eventual strikeù took center stage.
The Steelworkers and Goodyear settled on a three-year agreement Dec. 28 after an 86-day strike by about 15,000 workers at 16 company sites in the U.S. and Canada. The union previously inked a deal with Michelin North America Inc.´s BFGoodrich tire manufacturing unit — the industry´s bargaining target — in August. That three-year contract covers about 3,400 employees at three BFGoodrich tire plants.
Bargaining committees for both the USW and BFS planned on meeting separately the week of Jan. 15 to examine the Goodyear pact and revamp their strategies for the upcoming talks, a USW spokesman said. Negotiations between the company and union started in June, recessed during BFGoodrich talks, started again briefly in the fall, then broke off again in favor of Goodyear-related sessions.