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Editorial (United Rubber Workers Union to join super union; government investigates tire industry price fixing)(Editorial)

Let's discuss two of your favorite subjects, labor and government. I was going to congratulate the United Rubber Workers Union on their 60th anniversary, which was to be celebrated this month, but they morphed into something else. And that something else is definitely not the organizaion that took a severe hit from Bridgestone. Under their present configuration they are part of the United Steel Workers Union and the USW plans to merge with the United Auto Workers, among others, to create a super union. It will be interesting to see how this is going to impact the company basically forced the URW into the USW. The USW is considerably stronger than the URW was prior to negotiations with Bridgestone and is already going on the offensive against Bridgestone. The new union leaders will probably be tougher at the bargaining table because they have something to prove.

This may be troublesome for the industry in the near future. The URW and the rubber manufacturers had a good relationship. Work stoppages were minimal during the past two decades. The Bridgestone impasse came after the company refused the pattern contract.

In its near-60 years of existence, the URW seemed to place worker safety as a top priority, hopefully the USW will do the same. The URW was a positive force in the rubber industry that should be recognized as being responsible for many of your job related benefits. The URW move into the USW and the planned super union formation will certainly affect this industry. Here's hoping the affects are positive.

Just as labor affects industry, the government does more so. It's not enough that the regulators in Washington keep companies burdened with various compliances, every so often they throw something else at us. This time it's an investigation of possible price fixing by the tire manufacturers. This isn't the first time this charge has been leveled and what should be funny is the fact that the prices on tires have moved little in that almost 20 year span. What triggered this investigation? Price fixing is supposed to benefit the fixers. the only price fixing on tires that I'm aware of comes from Detroit. If the government's claim that it's investigatin anti-competitive practices is really true, they could go into the consulting business and sell their study to all the rubber industry. We've been trying to eliminate anti-competitive practices for decades.
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Author:Smith, Don R.
Publication:Rubber World
Article Type:Editorial
Date:Sep 1, 1995
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