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USW Reacts to Taylor Freeport Threat

Reacting to last week’s news that Titan International Chairman Morry Taylor threatened to reduce the workforce at its Freeport, Ill., plant, USW Executive Vice President Ron Hoover issued this statement:

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“The USW international, including myself, supported Titan’s purchase of the Freeport facility (from Goodyear), and I participated in the bargaining to accomplish the transaction. These negotiations were no different than most. Both parties had specific issues to address at the bargaining table.

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“For example, our negotiating committee addressed Mr. Taylor’s needs for a unique pension program and retiree medical plan. The USW had specific needs as well, including job security with protection against layoffs and an improved relationship with management in order to make the plant a more productive and safe place to work.

“Now, only two years after agreeing to the contract language we negotiated together, the USW believes it is disingenuous for Mr. Taylor to suggest that our union capitulate on the issue of job security.

“I wish all rubber locals had leadership teams that work with their members to deliver productivity improvements and administer their contracts as effectively as the Local 745 leadership team.

“Our international union and local union representatives are required by the National Labor Relations Act to represent our members to the best of our ability and to enforce our collective bargaining agreements in good faith. Our members deserve no less.

“Lastly, in 35 years of bargaining, I have learned that negotiating via the media simply does not work for either side. I firmly believe that further discussion of the Freeport issues should take place between our negotiators and management in the plant so that our members can get back to building the best agricultural tires in the world.” (Tire Review/Akron)

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