BFNT, Steelworkers return to bargaining table

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Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) and the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) resumed labor contract negotiations earlier this afternoon, a BFNT spokesman has told

Talks between the groups broke down 13 months ago after USWA officials walked away from the bargaining table in response to a BFNT counterproposal.

Workers at five BFNT plants are still working under a day-to-day contract that can be canceled by either party with a five-day notice.

Factories that would be covered under a new contract include Des Moines, Iowa; Warren County, Tenn.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; La Vergne, Tenn.; and a facility in Akron, Ohio, that builds racing tires.

BFNT´s Bloomington, Ill., plant is unionized, but isn´t part of the company´s master contract with the USWA.

BFNT and Steelworkers held preliminary meetings in mid-November that enabled them "to lay the foundation for talks," says the BFNT spokesman.

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