Continental employees say ´no´ to union in Mount Vernon

July 25, 2004

Employees at Continental Tire North America Inc.´s Mount Vernon, Ill., tire manufacturing facility have spoken. The plant will remain a non-union plant.

The results of the secret ballot, supervised by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB), were announced on Saturday. Among the tally of eligible voters who participated, 807 voted against union representation, while 747 voted for representation.

A majority vote of more than 50% would have given the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) the right to start negotiations for a collective bargaining agreement with Continental.

There were 41 challenged ballots, but the challenges were not sufficient to change the outcome of the vote. (Approximately 1,650 employees were eligible to vote.)

By law, the USWA has seven days to file objections to the conduct of the election.

"We are pleased with the outcome of the election," says Nick Fletcher, Continental´s vice president of human resources. "We hope that the Steelworkers will respect our employee’s choice."

On June 3, 2004, the USWA filed a petition with the NLRB seeking to represent production and maintenance employees at the plant. The NLRB scheduled a secret ballot election at the Mount Vernon facility for July 22-24.

It was the USWA´s third attempt to unionize the Mount Vernon facility through elections. The union first tried in February 1998 and then in late 2002.

The Mount Vernon facility has the capacity to manufacture 27,600 passenger, light truck and truck tires a day, according to Modern Tire Dealer´s 2004 Facts Issue. It employs close to 1,950 salaried and hourly employees.

Continental´s other three tire manufacturing plants in the United States -- in Bryan, Ohio, Charlotte, N.C., and Mayfield, Ky. -- are unionized.

Early last week, the USWA filed a charge with the NLRB accusing Continental of trying to "intimidate" workers in Mount Vernon by suspending tire production at the company´s Mayfield, Ky., plant.

Mayfield and Mount Vernon "are two totally separate issues," a CTNA spokesperson told this afternoon.