Titan, union delay talks another day

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 9, 2001

Officials of the United Steelworkers of America and Titan Tire have not started negotiating a contract for Titan’s Natchez plant.

That is because as of Thursday afternoon, they are still hammering out an agreement for the company’s Des Moines, Iowa, plant, said Leo &uot;T-Bone&uot; Bradley, president of Steelworkers Local 303L of Natchez.

Negotiations are set to resume today.

On Wednesday evening, Bradley said that &uot;we gave (Titan officials) our proposal, and they said they’d get back in touch with us Thursday.&uot;

But while officials from Natchez’s Local 303L are involved in the talks, the proposal in question only referred to Des Moines, not to Natchez, Bradley said.

&uot;All I&160;can say is that we’re still in negotiations,&uot;&160;Bradley said Thursday evening after talks had wrapped up for the day. &uot;We’re swapping proposals, but nothing’s agreed to yet.&uot;

Bradley has declined to give specifics of the union’s proposal. But previous negotiations between Titan and Natchez union officials have centered on such issues as working hours, benefits and seniority.

Representatives of Titan Tire and Steelworkers Local 164, which has been on strike from Titan’s Des Moines plant for 39 months, were in contract talks last week and resumed negotiations Wednesday.

Titan Chief Executive Officer Morry Taylor could not be reached for comment.

The Natchez strike began when Titan was given the right to buy the bankrupt plant from Fidelity-Condere.

Several negotiations between Titan and Local 303L officials took place, with few results, until talks last broke off in June 1999.