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Union Unloads on CTNA Over Charlotte Statement

(Akron/Tire Review) Relations between the United Steelworkers (USW) and Continental Tire North America (CTNA) continue to deteriorate, with most of the focus on CTNA’s demands for major cuts at its Charlotte, N.C., passenger and light truck/SUV tire plant.

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Union leaders are now angry over remarks attributed to CTNA human resources vice president Rick Ledsinger, who said in a recent CTNA press release that "it was time for the union to get serious about preserving jobs in Charlotte."

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"It’s an insult for him to state publicly that the USW or the Local 850 leadership is not serious about the company’s slash-and-burn proposal at the Charlotte, N.C., plant," said USW executive vice president Ron Hoover in reaction to the statement. "We’ve been working for months trying to engage the company in a constructive dialogue on how to maintain production in Charlotte.

"Right now, as we’re evaluating and costing out the company proposal given to us on Feb. 16, one thing is noticeably absent,” Hoover said. “There are absolutely zero job security provisions to maintain future productivity in Charlotte."

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According to the USW, the union and CTNA officials are supposed to meet today and tomorrow to discuss the Charlotte plant situation.

"Unfortunately, Ledsinger has been part of a management group that has spent two decades eroding Continental’s market position in North America. The one consistency during this entire period has been their efforts to gain unfair competitive advantage in the market place when it comes to labor costs," said Hoover. "These problems weren’t created overnight and they’re not going to be fixed in a flash."

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