Titan, union talking

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 9, 2001

Officials of United Steelworkers of America Local 303L&160;are negotiating with Titan Tire officials for a new contract for Titan’s Natchez plant.

&uot;We gave (Titan officials) our proposal, and they said they’d get back in touch with us Thursday,&uot;&160;said Leo &uot;T-Bone&uot; Bradley, president of Local 303L, which has been on strike from Titan’s Natchez plant since September 1998.

Bradley would not 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.

Bradley confirmed that negotiations, which were held Wednesday afternoon, were set to resume today, although he did not know a specific time.

Representatives of Titan Tire and Steelworkers Local 164, which has been on strike from Titan’s Des Moines, Iowa, 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 Wednesday evening.

Even if a contract and a back-to-work agreement are reached for Natchez, what jobs will be available remains to be seen, Bradley acknowledged.

In April, Titan scaled back its Natchez workforce from 230 workers to about 12 workers – mostly maintenance staff – due to economic factors.

Orders for rubber were cancelled, and the plant was put on &uot;stand-by mode&uot;&160;but would not be closed, Taylor said. The Natchez plant also laid off about 50 employees in early January.