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USWA calls off talks with Bridgestone/Firestone

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Evidently Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC's latest contract proposal has struck a nerve with the United Steelworkers of America (USWA).

After its policy committee turned down the proposal, the USWA abruptly called off this week's talks.

"They've basically asked for another proposal," says Dan McDonald, Bridgestone/Firestone spokesman. "There's no time or date scheduled to resume talks."

McDonald says the union made the first proposal and Bridgestone/Firestone submitted a counter-proposal. However, instead of countering back, the union rejected the proposal outright.

"(Bridgestone/Firestone) is seeking major wage and benefit concessions," says Wayne Ranick, USWA spokesman. "Their proposal does not address job security."

Ranick says the proposal did not follow the three-year agreement struck up with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in September. The union voted to use the Goodyear agreement as a "pattern settlement" for the rest of the industry.

No more talks are planned at this time, according to Ranick. "We don't regard (Bridgestone/Firestone's) proposal as a serious offer. I don't know where they will go from here."

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