QUINCY, Ill. (Dec. 20, 2010)—Titan Tire Corp. has locked out union members at its three tire plants in the U.S. after it couldn't reach a contract covering the facilities with the United Steelworkers.
The contract between the two sides had expired Nov. 19 but was extended until Dec. 17. When an agreement wasn't reached by that date, the facilities were shut down effective 11 p.m., according to a USW statement.
The action affects about 1,000 USW members at farm and off-the-road tire manufacturing plants in Bryan, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; and Freeport, Ill. The USW said the shutdown occurred despite the union informing the company that it would hold informational meetings and a vote on Titan's proposal for contracts covering the three factories within the next week.
Titan didn't issue a statement on the lockout, according to a company spokesman. Morry Taylor, Titan chairman and CEO, however, was quoted in local papers that there had been “great negotiations,” but that it was time for union members to make a decision.
The USW said in its statement that contract talks had begun in September and were working toward changes the firm said it needed to regain profitability at the three USW-represented facilities. As negotiations continued toward the Dec. 17 extension, the company informed the union it wouldn't agree to another extension and it would cease tire production if a new contract wasn't reached.
“The company's proposal falls far short of what we would like to see and we would much rather have continued to negotiate and reach a mutually acceptable deal,” said Jim Robinson, USW director of District 7 and chairman of the negotiating committee.
He added that the committee will follow through on its commitment to hold informational meetings at each site, with a vote on the contract proposals to come Dec. 23.