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Local unions go back to work at Titan plants

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Titan Tire Corp.'s three tire manufacturing plants in the United States are open for business. Union workers at two of the three plants, however, have yet to ratify new contracts.

Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union in Des Moines, iowa, ratified their contract on Thursday, Dec. 23.  Members at both the Freeport, Ill., and Bryan, Ohio, tire factories did not ratify their contracts, which Titan refers to as the "best and final" offers.

Titan had locked out all workers last week (see "Titan locks out union as voting looms"). Production at all three plants started up again on Sunday night, Dec. 26, with workers at Freeport and Bryan working under the terms of the latest contract offers.

“It is hard for anyone to accept change, but it is especially hard for a unionized workforce that for years believed they were entitled to various things," says Titan CEO Morry Taylor. "I appreciate the views the unions have, but at the end of the day, it was time to stop talking and move on.

"The new contract pays some of the highest wages and benefits in their respective areas, and Titan expects top performance from its employees in production, quality and service.  We are confident these new contracts will bring the tire group up to profit levels it should have.”

Jim Robinson, chairman of the USW's Negotiating Committee and director of USW District 7 in Gary, Ind., says USW members in Freeport and Bryan are willing to keep the negotiations open.

“While we do not agree that we are at impasse, and therefore the company’s imposition of its last offer is premature, the issues between us should be settled at the bargaining table, and we have informed the company that we are prepared to discuss dates to resume negotiations.”

(To read about what Taylor considers fair -- and final -- check out Modern Tire Dealer Editor Bob Ulrich's latest blog, "USW doesn't reveal voting results, but Titan's Taylor hints at what he is offering.")

Tire Tire is a subsidiary of Titan International Inc. For more information on Titan, visit www.titan-intl.com.

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