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Accord at Bridgestone/Firestone.

Since the last round of bargaining, there have been a number of changes in the rubber industry that analysts speculated might affect the master contract talks: Kenneth Cross was elected president of the United Rubber Workers; several changes were made at the top management levels of the "Big Three" rubber companies-Bridgestone/Firestone, Inc., Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co., and Goodyear Tire Co.; and Michelin bought out Uniroyal Goodrich and Bridgestone completed the buyout of Firestone.

In the first settlement in the current bargaining round, negotiators for Bridgestone/Firestone, the union's target company for the 1991 master contract negotiations, and the Rubber Workers reached agreement on a 3year master contract, covering some 4,900 workers at six plants nationwide, that could set the pattern for an additional 30,000 workers at other tire companies in the industry. The union continued negotiations with Uniroyal Goodrich and Goodyear, whose agreements, covering some 18,000 workers, also recently expired.

Terms of the new pact include an increase (from $23.50 to $30) in the monthly pension rate for future retirees for each year of credited service; a $200 lump-sum payment for current retirees; the retention of the cost-of-living adjustment (COLA) clause, which provides for 1 cent an hour for each 0.26-point rise in the Consumer Price Index for Wage Earners and Clerical Workers, with diversions of the COLA payments in the second and third years of the contract to help fund pension increases; extension of the 40 1 (k) savings plan to all employees (previously, only employees under the comprehensive medical plan); a COLA advance of 25 cents an hour, with recovery in increments of 10 cents in 1991 and 1992 and 5 cents in 1993; increases in both life insurance and accidental death and dismemberment insurance benefits, from $20,000 to $23,000; an increase in accident and sickness benefits, from $265 to $290 over the term of the contract; and, to cut health care costs, language encouraging the use of health maintenance and preferred provider organizations. The contract does not provide for an increase in pay.
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Title Annotation:United Rubber Workers and Bridgestone/Firestone labor contract
Publication:Monthly Labor Review
Date:Jul 1, 1991
Previous Article:National master freight agreement.
Next Article:State and local government.

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