Continental: Union criticism of company is 'unfounded'

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Continental Tire North America Inc. (CTNA) says the United Steelworkers (USW) Local 850 is off-base for claiming Continental's management failed to supply it with "critical information" needed "to develop a plan to salvage manufacturing at the Charlotte plant."

(See "Union chastises Continental for withholding information" in News Archives, Dec. 12, 2005.)

Rick Ledsinger, CTNA's vice president of human resources, says the union's press release is inaccurate, "and their criticism is unfounded. We responded to each and every one of their information requests and provided a company representative to answer any questions. Unfortunately, their representative only spent a short time looking through the documents and didn't ask a single question.

"We are disappointed the union chose to distort the facts in order to try to discredit our sincere attempts to reach an agreement on the critical cost restructuring that is necessary for the continued future of the Charlotte plant," he said. "It is our hope that going forward, we will be able to have real discussions with the union that focus on the real issues that impact the lives of the Charlotte employees. We have and will continue to be responsive to the union's requests for information."

The United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union, which includes the USW, represents 850,000 hourly workers in the U.S. and Canada. Some 70,000 are employed in the tire, rubber and plastics industry -- including 1,100 at CTNA's Charlotte plant.

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