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Tentative settlement reached in two-month tire strike

December 22, 1997

WOODBURN, Ind. (AP) _ The United Steelworkers of America reached tentative agreement with Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Manufacturing to end a two-month strike.

A 30-hour bargaining session between a team of company negotiators and a union bargaining committee ended in agreement Sunday on a three-year contract covering 1,200 workers.

No details were released. A union vote on the proposal was scheduled for Saturday.

``I’m sure that it’s a fair agreement or the committee wouldn’t be bringing it back for ratification,″ said Steelworkers Local 715 vice president Joe Motycka.

Workers walked out Oct. 24 in a dispute over work rules and work conditions at the tire plant east of Fort Wayne, Ind. Uniroyal Goodrich is a division of Michelin North America, which is owned by Michelin Groupe of France.

The company had said the plant lost more than $100 million over the past four years, and that the union’s contract proposals could create losses reaching $2.8 million a month.

A brief statement issued by company chief negotiator David Lowe made no mention of the losses.

``We believe this agreement gives us the foundation for a cooperative effort that will allow us to build for the future,″ he said.

In November, production of bias minispare tires was moved to the company’s plant in Ardmore, Okla., and layoff notices were sent to 240 workers. The fate of those jobs was uncertain.

Two weeks ago, the company mailed letters to union workers saying the plant would be closed permanently if no settlement was reached soon. The union dismissed the warning as a bargaining tactic.

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