GREENVILLE, S.C. (Aug. 24, 2009)—United Steelworkers members at two of Michelin North America Inc.'s unionized tire plants have ratified a new three-year labor agreement.
The contract covers about 2,500 workers at facilities in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and Fort Wayne, Ind. The USW also represents workers at the BFG plant in Opelika, Ala., but that plant is slated to close this fall.
The total vote of the membership at the two sites was 1,297 for the pact and 264 against it.
Dave Lowe, vice president of employee and labor relations for Michelin, said the new agreement is geared toward improving flexibility and reducing operating costs significantly over the life of the contract, giving the plants the chance they need to compete in a highly competitive market.
“Maintaining a competitive edge is difficult under the tough economic and market conditions we face today,” Lowe said. “It is critical that the company work together with our BFGoodrich employees and the USW to improve the competitiveness of these plants for the mutual benefit of the employees, the company and the communities.”
The original contract, covering about 3,200 workers at the three unionized sites, expired July 18, but was extended until Aug. 15, when a tentative agreement was reached between negotiators for Greenville-based Michelin and the USW.