Union to protest at aldermen meeting

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, July 13, 1999

Union members will attend the Natchez Board of Aldermen’s Tuesday meeting to protest Mayor Larry &uot;Butch&uot; Brown’s &uot;sitting on the fence&uot;&160;with regards to their Titan Tire strike, union president Leo &uot;T-Bone&uot; Bradley said Monday.

Members of United Steelworkers of America Local 303L, who have been striking since September, do not plan to march to City Hall as originally planned because they could not get a parade permit in time to do so, Bradley said.

Union members said they will attend the meeting to demand that Brown be held accountable to the people of Natchez, not Titan Tire of Natchez.

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&uot;Butch Brown has claimed he is being neutral in our struggle, yet on a number of occasions he has lent support to Titan,&uot; said union member Jimmy Ware. &uot;We are the people who voted him in; we are the people he should support.&uot;

But the mayor said the city has taken a neutral stance in the labor dispute, and has done all it can to help both sides resolve it.

&uot;We have met with (the union) every time they have requested a meeting,&uot; Brown said. &uot;We will continue to do anything we can to help resolve a situation that is not good for the workers, for the company and certainly not for the community.&uot;

The union said its two biggest problems are tax breaks the city has granted Titan Tire and the presence of contractor Mark Mason, which the union says is illegal because he does not have a license.

The city will not give the tax exemption until the equipment for which it was granted is installed, the mayor said.

The Adams County Board of Supervisors has granted the same tax exemption to Titan.

And Brown has said the city investigated the situation with Mason, a Vidalia contractor who hired workers for the Titan plant, and the Mississippi Board of Contractors said he did not need a license.

Brown said the city cannot take sides on the dispute between the union and the company.

&uot;We cannot cross over to one side or the other,&uot; he said.

Two weeks ago, union members picketed outside the Mississippi Municipal Association’s conference in Biloxi, which Brown was attending.