Learning our lesson from the Titan strike

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, December 11, 2001

Three years after the picket appeared outside the gates of Titan Tire’s Natchez plant, it’s all over. Sunday’s vote by members of the United Steelworkers Local 303L effectively put an end to the labor dispute.

Now what happens?

Titan’s CEO, Morry Taylor, says despite the newly signed agreement, he has no immediately plans to reopen the plant.

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It all depends on the economy, he says. And doesn’t everything these days?

Taylor is sometimes loud-mouthed, sometimes abrasive. He’ll admit that himself.

But hidden between his tirades, is an ugly truth that few people want to admit – the three-year labor strike hurt this community.

We’re not taking sides in the issue; thankfully the strike is over. No more &uot;sides&uot; exist. What remains is what was here in the beginning – a shell of a building with a bunch good, hard-working folks on the outside.

It may hurt to admit it, but Taylor is dead-on when he said the labor dispute and the way the community has handled – and at times mishandled – it has given us an anti-business reputation.

The moniker is not 100 percent correct, but shades of truth can be found. The community must join together and focus on what we can do as one.

The City of Natchez’s recent changes to the controversial sign ordinance was a good step toward giving business and industry more priority, but it was a baby step.

We must not forget the lessons from the Titan Tire strike. What we need now is for the city, county, and schools to join forces with the Natchez-Adams Economic and Community Development Authority.

Together this community can do amazing things, but we can only do so arm-in-arm.