Union Local Votes to Halt Strike Against Brigestone-Firestone
AKRON, Ohio (AP) _ The United Rubber Workers local representing 150 workers at Bridgestone-Firestone Inc.’s research center on Tuesday voted to end a six-month strike, becoming the first local to abandon a walkout involving 4,000 workers.
The URW struck on July 12 over contract issues, and last week the company said it would hire permanent replacement workers at its production plants. The threat of replacements didn’t cover the Akron center, however, whose hourly employees are represented by URW Local 7.
There was no word Tuesday of other union locals abandoning the walkout.
``I had to act in the best interest of these 150 families I have out there,″ David Yurick, president of the Local 7, said after the local’s executive board voted to end the walkout.
Yurick said the returning workers would accept the company-imposed contract terms but would try to negotiate a new agreement.
Curt Brown, a spokesman for the parent union in Akron, said he wasn’t aware of the Local 7 action.
``We have not been advised of this decision but if they are returning to work, current business conditions will now determine how many we have jobs for,″ said Trevor Hoskins, a spokesman at Bridgestone-Firestone headquarters in Nashville, Tenn.
The URW struck to press its demand that Bridgestone-Firestone, owned by Tokyo-based Bridgestone Corp., agree to a contract similar to one reached with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Bridgestone-Firestone refused to follow the Goodyear pattern and demanded that employees work 12-hour shifts for continuous production.
In addition to Akron, the strike affects plants in Oklahoma City; Des Moines, Iowa; Decatur, Ill.; and Noblesville, Ind.