BFNT, Steelworkers will resume negotiations

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Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) and the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) will return to the bargaining table on Nov. 16 after an 11-month break.

"It´s really a preliminary session," a BFNT spokesman told this morning.

"It´s an opportunity for the negotiating teams to start communicating again."

USWA officials walked away from negotiations last November after rejecting a BFNT counterproposal.

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

"The hope is that (we) can get enough common ground to move forward and begin a concentrated effort" to hammer out a new labor contract.

Steelworkers originally called off talks because they claimed BFNT´s offer asked for major wage and benefit concessions. "Their proposal does not address job security," USWA spokesman Wayne Ranick said at the time.

BFNT 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 manufactures racing tires.

BFNT´s Bloomington, Ill., plant is unionized, but not part of the company´s master contract with the USWA.

Ranick has told that the union is not classifying the Nov. 16 meeting as a return to negotiations.

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