ORANGE, Texas (April 3, 2008) — Workers at the Firestone Polymers synthetic rubber plant in Orange have ratified a five-year contract that gives workers raises but also gives the company the ability to have some positions taken out of the bargaining unit.
United Steelworkers Local 13-836, which represents 165 employees at the facility, ratified the new pact by a two-thirds majority during the last week of March. The old contract had expired March 7 but the two sides had been working under a day-to-day extension as negotiations continued, said a spokesman for Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc., parent of Firestone Polymers.
The new agreement runs through March 7, 2013, and gives workers an 8-percent raise the first year, 3 percent in each of the second and third years, and 4 percent in each of the fourth and fifth years. It also keeps the employees' health care co-pays and deductions at current levels.
For its part, Firestone will be able to replace 12 union positions in crate building and replace fork-lift drivers and loaders with contract employees as those jobs come open through attrition.
The Bridgestone spokesman said the company is pleased to have a contract that is beneficial to both sides and will provide labor stability.
“It's nice to have labor relations in place for five years so we don't have to go back to the negotiating table so soon,” he said.
The Orange factory makes SR for use in tires and other rubber goods.