Yokohama workers ratify new contract in Salem

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Steelworkers at Yokohama Tire Corp.'s Salem, Va., plant have ratified a new, three-year labor contract.

According to Steve Kessing, Yokohama's vice president of administration, the new agreement is similar to accords reached earlier by the union and other tire manufacturers.

"The agreement helps the Salem plant control costs in the very competitive U.S. and global tire market.

"Manufacturing costs will be reduced through the implementation of a two-tier wage structure, (plus) health care contributions and benefit reductions for newly hired workers.

"The job security provisions allow employees to focus on production and quality issues with the assurance that the facility will remain operational."

The new contract will expire in May 2010. The Salem facility has approximately 900 employees.

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