A strike may have been averted at the midnight hour as a tentative agreement has been reached between labor and management at Bridgestone.
“We are very optimistic,” said Van Tenpenny of the United Steel Workers Local 1155. “Our negotiating committee wouldn’t have signed the tentative agreement if they didn’t think it was viable.”
The tentative agreement affects the six Bridgestone plants located across the country. Saturday marked the expiration of their 2009 contract; however, both sides agreed to continue consideration of a last-minute management proposal leaving the union workers operating under an hour to hour extension of the old contract. Ninety-nine percent of the union had voted to strike if an equitable agreement was not reached.
While there has been a tentative agreement, the contract must be ratified by the rank and file of the union before it is officially accepted. The timeframe for such acceptance or denial could be well over a week.
“We are still waiting on summaries of the proposed contract,” Tenpenny said, noting it could be the middle of this week before the local plant’s executive committee gets the preliminary reports in its hands.
At this point Tenpenny said he is only hearing rumors of particulars in the contract.
“I’d hate to comment on any highlights until we know the official wording,” Tenpenny said, adding that details will become available after the committee completely evaluates the paperwork comprising the contract proposal.
Once the local executive committee reads the report, it will call in the 40 union stewards and discuss the contract. After that the proposal will be sent to the workers and a vote taken.
While each plant in the Bridgestone chain has its own negotiating committee as well as its individual concerns, the local plant is tied in with the other plants when it comes to things such as a pension plan.