Kitchener strike ends with contract ratification

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Some 1,000 striking Steelworkers at Michelin North America Inc.´s (MNA) Kitchener, Ontario, tire manufacturing plant have agreed to lay down their pickets after approving a tentative contract agreement with the company today.

"The agreement represents a major victory for our members," says a spokesperson for the Steelworkers´ Ontario/Atlantic Canada office.

Workers had been on strike at the Kitchener factory since June 1, when their previous contract expired.

MNA and the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) announced they had reached tentative agreements regarding the Kitchener facility -- plus MNA-owned BFGoodrich (BFG) plants in Tuscaloosa and Opelika, Ala., and Fort Wayne, Ind. -- last Friday.

Union members at the three United States BFG factories are expected to vote on the agreements within two weeks, a USWA spokesman told earlier this afternoon.

"We´re pleased to have reached agreements that will provide the framework for making our BFGoodrich Tire Manufacturing plants viable," says Dave Lowe, MNA´s vice president of labor and employee relations.

A MNA spokesperson says the tiremaker´s objective in Kitchener "is to move as quickly as possible to get (the plant´s) employees back to work and return to a normal production schedule."

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