OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Despite stalled negotiations on a contract extension, union workers at Bridgestone/Firestone's Dayton Tire plant will continue working next week.
The United Steelworkers union and the company said they failed to agree to a day-to-day extension of the contract that covers seven Bridgestone/Firestone factories, including Oklahoma City. The current labor contract expires Sunday.
``We are not calling for a strike at this point,'' said a letter signed by national union officials, including Local 998 President Jim Cassie from Oklahoma City. ``We urge all members to continue to report for work.''
The company and union recessed talks until a later date. Negotiations stalled over the inclusion of contract protections for jobs at plants in Oklahoma and Tennessee. The company said earlier this month it planned to close the Dayton Tire plant in Oklahoma City by Dec. 31, with the loss of 1,600 jobs.
The Dayton closure announcement came amid national union negotiations for a new three-year contract with the major tire companies. The union picks one company as the ``target'' and negotiates an industrywide pattern agreement for its represented members. BF Goodrich, a unit of France's Michelin Group, is the target this year.
In a letter to members, the union said Bridgestone/Firestone wanted a day-to-day contract without plant protection language already in the current contract.
Bridgestone/Firestone said it was disappointed the union rejected the proposed extension. The company wants the flexibility to reduce its work force in the face of what it calls global pressures on the U.S. market.
Union officials have accused the company of not spending enough on capital improvements to make the tires desired by consumers. Both sides agree that the market is moving away from the 13-, 14- and 15-inch passenger car tires made in Oklahoma City.