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Locals to vote this week on Michelin contract

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Some 3,400 Steelworkers employed at Michelin North America Inc.´s (MNA) Tuscaloosa and Opelika, Ala., and Fort Wayne, Ind., plants will vote this week on a tentative labor agreement that was reached with the company last Friday, according to the United Steelworkers of America (USWA).

Striking workers at MNA´s Kitchener, Ontario, tire manufacturing plant approved the agreement for their facility yesterday, effectively ending picketing, which had started when their previous contract expired on June 1.

"Our primary objectives in these negotiations were to preserve jobs and ensure a future for all four plants -- which were endangered by foreign imports and lack of investment -- to defend our members´ living standards, and to preserve affordable health care for more than 9,000 retirees and surviving spouses," says USWA Executive Vice President John Sellers. "We believe we have accomplished those goals."

Workers at Fort Wayne and Opelika are voting today and will continue voting tomorrow, Aug. 25. Tuscaloosa employees also will vote tomorrow.

USWA officials say they will announce ratification results this coming Friday.

Kitchener is covered under a separate agreement than the three United States factories.

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