PITTSBURGH (July 21)--The United Steelworkers of America have charged that Continental Tire North America Inc. announced its decision to curtail tire production in Mayfield, Ky., just to scare workers scheduled to vote on union representation at its Mount Vernon, Ill., factory.
The USWA filed a charge with the National Labor Relations Board, alleging that the cutback at Mayfield "is illegal, and should be halted by the federal government." The company said in June that it would stop production of passenger and light truck tires in Mayfield by year's end, maintaining just mixing and warehouse operations at the 44-year-old facility.
Workers in Mount Vernon are scheduled to vote July 22-24 on whether to accept the USWA as its bargaining agent--the third such election in the past six years.
Jim Robinson, USWA District 7 director, said the USWA's charge is backed by 40 years of NLRB case law, "which states that it is unlawful for a company to shut down production at one plant to coerce workers at another facility, of the same company, to vote against union representation"
Joe Angi, plant manager for Conti in Mount Vernon, said "the cessation of tire production in Mayfield was a cost-competitive situation and had nothing to do with the election here." Rather than trying to scare workers in Mount Vernon, he said the company has aimed to provide as much factual information as possible, through handouts, mailings and an information video mailed to workersÂ´ homes.