QUINCY, Ill.—United Steelworkers locals at Titan International Inc. plants in Des Moines, Iowa, Bryan, Ohio, and Freeport, Ill., are expected to vote on a proposed 4-year contract the week of March 4.
The vote, culminating more than five months of negotiations, Titan said in its fiscal 2012 results released earlier this week.
Titan and the union have been negotiating a new collective bargaining agreement since September 2012, Chairman Maurice Taylor Jr. told financial analysts in a conference call Feb. 26. Taylor said Titan believes this proposed contract "is fair to our employees and the company."
The firm's contracts at the Bryan and Freeport plants expired two years ago, and workers there have been working for the past two years under the terms of a "best and final proposed contract," Titan said.
Titan suffered an operating and net loss in the fourth quarter last year, a development Taylor in part blamed on the unsettled contract situation.
"One of the biggest problems in the quarter was in the performance of the three U.S. tire plants," he said.
Taylor—whose company once experienced the longest strike in U.S. tire industry history—said the back-and-forth of the negotiation process is time-consuming and distracting for the workers. Any proposed contract changes must be brought to the rank-and-file.
Taylor said Titan's non-union wheel business "drove right along" during the quarter.
The executive didn't discuss specifics of the proposed contract, but said among the changes negotiated were overtime, work rules and medical coverage, with more employee participation.
Taylor said from Titan's viewpoint the main thrust of the contract is to allow an increase in efficiencies while still ensuring the employees will be "some of the highest-paid" in manufacturing.