'Issues remain same' during BFNT, union contract talks

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Negotiators from Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC (BFNT) and the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) are still at the bargaining table more than two months after labor contract talks officially resumed between the parties.

"The issues remain the same," a USWA spokesman told

Union officials originally walked away from negotiations in November 2003 after rejecting a BFNT counterproposal. They called off talks because they claimed BFNT´s offer asked for major wage and benefit concessions without addressing job security.

Workers at five BFNT tire production facilities are still working under a day-to-day contract that can be canceled by either party with a five-day notice.

BFNT factories that would be covered under a new contract include Des Moines Iowa; Warren County, Tenn.; Oklahoma City, Okla; La Vergne, Tenn.; and a facility in Akron, Ohio, that manufactures racing tires.

BFNT´s Bloomington, Ill., plant is unionized, but not part of the company´s master contract with the USWA.

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