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Union responds to CTNA's decision to suspend production in Charlotte

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The United Steelworkers say that Continental Tire North America Inc.'s (CTNA) decision to indefinitely suspend production at its Charlotte, N.C., plant this September "is not a surprise."

CTNA's decision "is totally consistent with (its) inability to understand and operate in this environment," says United Steelworkers Executive Vice President Ron Hoover.

"We view it as another step in CTNA's pre-determined plan to abandon the North America market.

"CTNA is incapable of devising business and marketing strategies to enable them to compete here.

"Instead of conducting the required research and product development and making the needed capital investments to improve its plants, this company just looks to take money out of the pockets of its workers."

The union and CTNA have been engaged in talks to see if maintaining the Charlotte productivity is possible.

The company has demanded $32 million "in yearly concessions," say union officials, "without ever really demonstrating the need for these savings."

Earlier today, CTNA said it will suspend production in Charlotte on or about Sept. 15, 2006, unless an agreement is reached with the union to "significantly reduce" manufacturing costs at the plant.

If the suspension goes through, more than 470 hourly and salaried workers will be laid off.

"CTNA cannot continue to operate the Charlotte plant with our current manufacturing cost structure," says CTNA CEO and President Alan Hippe.

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