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Steelworkers ratify BFNT contract

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Steelworkers at Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) plants have ratified the new master contract between the union and the company.

The contract, retroactive to the previous agreement's April 23, 2003 expiration date, will run through July 23, 2006.

Workers in the covered plants had been working on day-to-day extension agreements.

Here is BFNT's official statement:

"We are pleased the USW members voted to ratify the tentative contract agreed to by BFNT and the United Steel, Paper and Forestry, Rubber, Manufacturing, Energy, Allied Industrial and Service Workers International Union (USW).

"It has been our goal throughout this process to achieve contracts that are in the best interests of both parties and we believe this master agreement reflects that goal.

"The new contract increases wages, provides excellent health care with no monthly premiums for active teammates and their families, and provides job security with our continued commitment to invest in our United States passenger, ag and truck/bus tire plants.

"The master contract with the USW covers union teammates at tire production facilities in Akron, Ohio; Des Moines, Iowa; LaVergne, Tenn.; and Oklahoma City, Okla., as well as union teammates at the Firestone tube plant in Russellville, Ark., and the Firestone air spring plant in Bloomington, Ill.

"A ratification vote for the tentative agreement reached for the maintenance group at the LaVergne tire plant is scheduled for Thursday, June 30."

Workers at BFNT's Warren County, Tenn., tire plant voted to reject the tentative agreement proposed for the facility last week.

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