SALEM, Va.—Yokohama Rubber Co. Ltd. and the United Steelworkers Local 1023 in Salem agreed to a tentative labor contract on May 16, minutes before the old one was set to expire.
Local President Steve Jones confirmed the tentative deal, which the members of the Salem passenger car tire plant are scheduled to vote on ratification June 1 and 2.
A passing vote would preserve labor peace through May 16, 2018.
“We had the authorization to strike if need be if it came to that,” Jones said. “It was to the point where it was hard to say. We were prepared, let me just put it that way, if we didn't feel we'd get a fair contract.”
Jones declined to comment on specifics until the union voted on the agreement. The union is having agreement meetings the week of May 26 with voting the following week. Polls close at 6:30 p.m. on June 2.
He said the negotiating committee is recommending to about 750 active union members to ratify it.
“I think it was a positive and fair contract for both sides,” Jones said. “Here at Yokohama, our guys work hard and efficiently. I think we were able to get a fair contract that everybody should be happy with.”
Jones said the bargaining followed the USW's concept of pattern bargaining, which began last year with the ratification of deals with the three largest tire makers: Goodyear, Michelin's BF Goodrich subsidiary and Bridgestone Americas Inc.