Next up for contract negotiations: Bridgestone/Firestone

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Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) is next on the list for contract negotiations if Steelworkers ratify their proposed three-year labor agreement with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. tonight.

BFNT has held off on negotiating a new contract until the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) come to an agreement with Goodyear, which appears to be likely.

Eight out of the 14 USWA locals involved in the Goodyear talks need to approve the contract in order for ratification to take place.

As of this afternoon, each local has given its approval, with the exceptions of Union City, Tenn., which has rejected the contract, and Danville, Va., which is expected to vote this evening, according to union sources.

After local votes are tallied, another general vote must be taken to make it official.

A USWA spokesman told that after BFNT's contract is resolved, union officials will start negotiating with Michelin North America Inc., whose Uniroyal and BFGoodrich plant contracts have expired.

Then Steelworkers will move on to Continental Tire North America Inc. (CTNA), whose six-year contract with the union expires in 2005.

However, the existing CTNA-USWA labor contract has a "reopener clause" that goes into effect next week that will allow both parties "to review economics and make improvements," according to union representatives.

Steelworkers will probably start negotiating with Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and Yokohama Tire Corp. after CTNA.

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