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Firestone Reaches Tentative Agreement with Steel WorkersAired September 4, 2000 - 5:32 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LINDA STOUFFER, CNN ANCHOR: There is word of a tentative agreement today between Bridgestone/Firestone and steel workers who have been threatening to strike.
CNN's Mark Potter joins us by phone from La Verne, Tennessee with more on this breaking story today.
MARK POTTER, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hello, Linda.
Well, it appears we have a Labor Day agreement. We understand that an agreement, a tentative agreement between the United Steelworkers of America and Bridgestone/Firestone was reached in the early morning hours today, Labor Day. We heard about it about 3:00 or so in the morning Central time, 4:00 Eastern time.
A call came into the local headquarters in La Verne, Tennessee to Tommy Reiter (ph), who is the secretary here, it came from Gary Manning (ph), the president of the local, he is also on the negotiating committee that has been working around the clock in St. Louis to try to hammer out an agreement with Bridgestone/Firestone. He said that all the presidents of the locals involving the nine plants that were the subject of these negotiations and that were threatened by the prospect of a walkout agreed to this tentative agreement.
They had worked into the night and finally did hammer out a tentative agreement. It will now be brought back to the memberships around the country at the various plants involved for their discussion and approval. So this is not a final settlement, but it is a major step in these negotiations that had been underway since March, and that have certainly intensified since midnight Friday, early in the morning Saturday, when the decision was made to override a strike deadline that had been imposed weeks earlier by the union as talks had slowed.
Talks intensified at that time because it was clear that certainly the company did not want a strike at this time. The timing for the company was horrible, given the tire recall and all of the other problems that Bridgestone/Firestone has been dealing with, not only in this country, but in other countries around the world.
So it appears that the hard work of the negotiators has come to this, a tentative agreement. And the workers who had been standing by awaiting word from their union representatives about what to do next, should they work or should they walk out, now have word that a tentative agreement has been reached and they are to stay on their jobs.
Most -- at least the plant here in La Verne will be closed today, but that is only because it is Labor Day, that was long scheduled. They will be back on the job at 6:00 in the morning tomorrow, knowing now that there is at least an agreement that they will have a chance to look at and vote on later, the threat of a strike for now has been lifted.
STOUFFER: Mark Potter, thank you very much. Perhaps a good Labor Day for all of those people.
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