By Denna Bowman
Union members have ratified new four-year labour contracts with Bridgestone tyres, according to the United Steelworkers (USW).
The contracts, which workers ratified by more than a two-to-one ratio, cover 4,500 workers at seven tyre and rubber product plants in the United States.
A master agreement covers plants in Akron, Ohio (racing tyres); Des Moines, Iowa; Russellville, Ark; and La Vergne, Tenn.
A separate agreement was ratified by workers at the Warren County, Tenn., tyre plant.
In a statement on its website, USW said: “Despite negotiating in these difficult economic times, the USW was able to protect wages and benefits.
“Quality healthcare was preserved for both active and retiree (members), and coverage for new hires was drastically improved.”
In addition, new hires will continue to participate in what the union refers to as the “Defined Benefit” retirement plan.
The deal with Bridgestone completes the labour negotiations with domestic tyre companies.
USW members previously ratified new contracts with Michelin North America Inc.’s BFGoodrich Tyre Manufacturing division and Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Co.