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Titan, Steelworkers still negotiating in Natchez

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Talks are still continuing between Titan Tire Corp. and more than 300 striking United Steelworkers of America (USWA) members at the company's Natchez, Miss., plant following the union's rejection of a five-year, Titan-sponsored contract last week.

Members "have a lot of questions," says a USWA spokesman. "Many center around the fact that the factory has been mothballed.

"The company has given no indication when the plant will reopen...all they're saying is 'when economic conditions recover.'"

The Natchez Steelworkers' ratification vote, which took place on Oct. 2, "wasn't very close," the spokeman concedes.

USWA members started picketing Titan's Natchez facility in Fall 1998.

At full capacity, the 335,000-square-foot plant can produce more than 8,000 tires a day, according to Modern Tire Dealer data.

Members of USWA Local 164 in Des Moines, Iowa, ended the longest strike in the history of the tire industry late last month by ratifying a back-to-work agreement with Titan. They had been picketing Titan's Des Moines plant since May 1998.

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