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BMW and Teamsters tentatively extend contract at Ontario warehouse

The current agreement with 68 workers at the parts distribution center will continue for six months as they work on a long-term deal, putting on hold the automaker's plan to outsource operations.

August 12, 2011|By Andrew Khouri, Los Angeles Times

Automaker BMW and the Teamsters union have tentatively agreed to extend the current labor contract at the Ontario parts distribution warehouse for six months as they work on a long-term agreement.

The contracts for 68 workers were set to expire at the end of August, and the German automaker had planned to turn over operation of the facility to a third-party logistics firm.

"We had a good discussion with the Teamsters, and we intend to extend the contract for six months to provide the time to address the substantive issues facing both of our organizations," said BMW Group spokesman Kenn Sparks.

The deal puts on hold BMW's plan to outsource operations.

"I am confident that BMW will honor its promises to find a solution to keep their longtime, dedicated workforce and ensure that these jobs remain good, middle-class jobs," Bob Lennox, Teamsters Local 495 secretary treasurer, said in a statement.

The union accused BMW of outsourcing operations so the automaker could replace longtime workers with a lower-wage workforce. The automaker has insisted that it only wants to run the Ontario distribution center like four other centers around the country and that the decision had nothing to do with wages.

The labor fight attracted international attention after the union sought support from congressional leaders and unions in the U.S. and overseas.

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