QUINCY, Ill. (Dec. 28, 2010)—Titan Tire Corp. employees in Freeport, Ill., and Bryan, Ohio, are working under a contract rejected by the United Steelworkers union after the tire maker ended negotiations between the two entities, declaring they had reached an impasse.
USW members in Bryan and Freeport voted down the proposed contract Dec. 23, citing among other things excessive overtime requirements, a reduction in paid vacation time and a wage freeze for the life of the two-year contract, according to Titan Chairman and CEO Maurice Taylor Jr.
Workers in Titan's Des Moines, Iowa, factory, which Taylor said is the lowest paid plant, accepted the new contract.
“What's happened is over the years you have this situation where—good, bad or indifferent—things have been written in so that you could never really run a factory the way you have to in the modern day,” Taylor said.
Jim Robinson, chairman of the USW's Negotiating Committee and Director of USW District 7 in Illinois, said he believes negotiations with Titan are “not over.”
“We have told the company that we do not agree negotiations are at an impasse,” he said, “and have requested that we resume bargaining.”
Robinson said the USW expects that Titan will “come back to the table.” As for the possibility of a strike, the union will “evaluate our options when the time comes if that's where we want to go.”
Union representatives in Bryan could not be reached, but in a voice message on USW Local 890's main phone line, a union representative said members are “not electing to strike at this time.”