QUINCY, Ill. (Nov. 19, 2010)—Titan Tire Corp. and the United Steelworkers have agreed to extend their bargaining agreements on contracts at the firm's three U.S. tire plants until Dec. 17.
Titan and the USW have been making “good progress” toward a new labor agreement, Titan said. Separate pacts between the tire maker and the hourly work forces represented by the USW at Titan's farm and OTR tire plants in Des Moines, Iowa; Freeport, Ill.; and Bryan, Ohio, are set to expire today.
The contracts affect about 1,400 hourly workers at the three sites. Local 745 in Freeport represents about 500—plus 80-90 on layoff; the Des Moines factory has 465-470 production workers; and the Bryan operation has 238 in plant with about 120 on layoff, USW officials said earlier this year.
“We face a difficult challenge in these negotiations,” said USW District 7 Director Jim Robinson, who chairs the union's Titan Tire bargaining committee. “The company has proposed an aggressive agenda to standardize our contracts and restructure work in our plants.”
Robinson said standardization has the potential to equalize working conditions at all three locations and help prevent any potential pitting of one location against another, creating more leverage for the union in future negotiations.
If done properly, he said, restructuring work in the tire plants increases productivity, which in turn would support the standard of living USW members expect.
“Major changes take time and attention to negotiate,” Robinson said, “and we are determined to take that time and give that attention.”
Quincy-based Titan bounced back into the black in the third quarter, reporting net income of $4 million on 57-percent higher sales of $222.8 million. For the nine months ended Sept. 30, Titan was $10.7 million in the black on a net basis on sales of $648.9 million.