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Bridgestone/Firestone: 'Steelworkers might not strike'

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The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) may be holding strike preparation meetings this week, but that doesn't mean they are going to strike, according to Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) officials.

"If they are going to strike, they have to provide written notice of their intentions, and that hasn't happened," a BFNT spokesman has told moderntiredealer.com.

Last Friday, USWA officials revealed in their Solidarity News bulletin that they would start holding strike preparation meetings at BFNT plants tomorrow.

"To date, (BFNT) has been unresponsive to our job and plant security demands," they said.

Steelworkers are accusing the tiremaker of wanting to "export our jobs and replace our production with imports and goods produced at non-union plants. There can be no new contract without the company committing to the future of our plants."

A new contract would cover plants in Des Moines, Iowa; Warren County, Tenn.; La Vergne, Tenn.; Oklahoma City, Okla.; and a plant in Akron, Ohio, that builds racing tires.

All five facilities are currently operating under a day-to-day contract that can be canceled at any time by either side after a five-day notice.

Steelworkers say BFNT management is pushing for "massive concessions."

"We are still negotiating with the union with the hopes of reaching a new contract," reply BFNT officials.

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