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Labor relations board dismisses charges against Continental

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The Regional National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) dismissed unfair labor practice allegations filed against Continental Tire North America Inc. by the United Steelworkers of America (USW). Continental then turned around and filed charges against the union.

All the charges stem from the labor negotiations between Continental and the USW held in 2006 surrounding the Charlotte, N.C., tire manufacturing facility. Production in the plant was indefinitely suspended last September.

NLRB Regional Director Willie Clark Jr. specifically found that "there is insufficient evidence of a violation and further proceedings are not warranted" with regard to USW allegations that Continental did not provide information to the union and did not lawfully reach impasse before implementing production and staffing decisions in Charlotte.

In response to these allegations, the NLRB found that Continental did not violate any labor laws. Instead, the NLRB found that the company:

* did provide the union with necessary and relevant information for the purposes of bargaining;

* did lawfully reach impasse with the union prior to implementing its last, best and final proposal and its restructuring plan; and

* did lawfully implement production curtailments and layoffs in Charlotte.

"The NLRB's decision to dismiss these allegations validates what we have said all along -- that from day one we bargained in good faith with the United Steelworkers," says Continental spokesman Rick Holcomb. "It is our hope that the union will adhere to the same standard and that we can now move forward and conclude our negotiations."

Continental is still in negotiations with the USW regarding the effects of the indefinite suspension of tire production at the Charlotte plant. The negotiations have been ongoing since July 18, 2006. Continental says the union has declined to bargain with it on retiree medical benefits since Sept. 5, 2006.

As a result of the union's refusal to bargain, Continental filed an unfair labor practice charge against the USW with the NLRB on March 1, 2007. The NLRB is currently investigating this charge.

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