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Bloomington workers OK contract extension with BFNT

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Steelworkers at Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC's Bloomington, Ill., OTR tire plant have approved a contract extension through 2012.

Under the agreement, Bloomington employees will receive the same wage and benefit package contained in a separate master contract between BFNT and the United Steelworkers. They also have agreed to a no-strike clause during the term extension.

Ralph Burchfield, president of Bridgestone Firestone Off Road Products Group, says the deal ensures the plant will continue to produce tires "with no interruption."

BFNT officials also note the extension opens the door to new investment in the plant.

BFNT operates under four separate union contracts. The master contract covers tire production facilities in Akron, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; and LaVergne, Tenn. It also covers a tube plant and an air spring plant. The master contract expires July 2009.

In addition to the master pact, BFNT has separate union contracts in Warren County, Tenn., and with maintenance employees in LaVergne.

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