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Tentative Titan-union contract provides for successorship, protects against closing

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Titan International Inc.'s tentative agreement with the United Steelworkers Local 745 in Freeport, Ill., that is being voted upon today includes the same successorship provision found in the union's current contract with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Ratification of the agreement will enable Titan to buy Goodyear's farm tire division, which includes a farm tire factory in Freeport.

The current contract states that a potential buyer must first negotiate a new contract with the Steelworkers before it can acquire a unionized Goodyear plant.

The new tentative agreement also provides "that there can be no plant closure" at the Freeport facility "for the life of the five-year contract term.

"In addition to the plant closure prohibition, there are certain staffing requirements (in the agreement). For a period of two years following the sale, staffing of the Freeport plant will be maintained at the current level less the number of persons that accept" an exit incentive in the contract.

Staffing levels may be adjusted only "to reflect future efficiency improvements" and/or "as necessary to reflect the affect of any discontinuance of sales to Goodyear of non-farm tire production and/or Banbury mixed stock agreements, provided Titan has made every effort to retain this work."

Ealier this year, Titan announced its intention to buy Goodyear's farm tire division for $100 million. If the transaction goes through, Titan will gain control of the Goodyear and Kelly farm tire brands.

The Quincy, Ill.-based specialty tire manufacturer has been in talks with the union for several months.

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