Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Firestone Sale to Have Little Impact on Labor Talks

Newspaper article THE JOURNAL RECORD

Firestone Sale to Have Little Impact on Labor Talks

Article excerpt

Sale of Firestone Inc. to a Japanese firm will have little impact on current labor negotiations of Firestone, an Oklahoma City union leader said Monday.

Negotiations between the United Rubber Workers Union and Firestone officials on a three-year master agreement have been recessed until Wednesday at the company's request, said Don Adams, vice president of Local 998, which represents workers at the Oklahoma City plant.

Completion of the $2.6 billion buyout of Chicago-based Firestone by Bridgestone Corp. of Tokyo is expected Wednesday. Shareholders overwhelmingly approved the sale during a special meeting Monday.

"I can't foresee how that (the sale) will have any affect on the negotiations," Adams said. "The same people will still be at the table, regardless of who owns the company."

The current master agreement expired at 12:01 a.m. Thursday. The Firestone division of the United Rubber Workers is continuing to operate on a day-to-day basis without a contract until an agreement is reached, Adams said.

Meanwhile, union negotiators reached agreement with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co. shortly after the contract expired. The rank and file membership is in the process of ratification of that agreement, which as been tabbed as a pattern for the industry.

Adams would not comment on the Goodyear agreement.

"It has some good things, and it has some bad things," he said. "But, I'd rather not comment until after we reach agreement (with Firestone)."

Although the Goodyear contract is the pattern of the industry, Adams said other plants are not bound by the agreement.

"Just because it's being approved for one company," he said, "does not necessarily mean that it will be the same for all the companies."

Union negotiators, in their talks with Firestone, have discussed some non-economic items in the proposed contract, Adams said, but economic issues will not be discussed until after ratification of the Goodyear pact. …

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