FULLERTON, Calif. (May 2) — Union workers at Yokohama Tire Corp.´s Salem, Va., tire plant have ratified a new three-year agreement with the company guaranteeing job security and reduced costs.
The new deal, approved by members of United Steelworkers Local 1023, will last until May 2010. The pact is similar to the agreements ratified earlier in the bargaining season by USW members working at Goodyear, Michelin North America Inc.´s BFGoodrich unit and Bridgestone/Firestone.
The contracts at BFS were ratified most recently, on April 25. The Goodyear pact was approved in December after an 86-day strike, and the BFG deal was voted in last August.
The Yokohama agreement helps the Salem plant control costs in the "very competitive" U.S. and global tire market, said Steve Kessing, the company´s vice president of administration. Manufacturing costs will be reduced through the implementation of a two-tier wage structure, health care contributions and benefit reductions for newly hired workers, he said.
Job security provisions will allow employees to focus on production and quality issues with the assurance that the facility will remain operational during the term of the agreement, Kessing said.
The Salem facility employs about 900 people and manufactures primarily passenger and light truck radial tires. Yokohama Tire Corp. is the North American manufacturing and marketing arm of Tokyo-based Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd.