United Auto Workers (UAW) union members are still on the job at International Truck and Engine Corp. plants – even though their labor contract expired at midnight Monday.

"We're just business as usual. We're not locked out and we're not on strike," said Brad Brayfield, financial secretary at UAW Local 402 in Springfield, OH.

International truck group president Steve Keate said senior members from both sides talked until 4 or 5 a.m. Tuesday and resumed negotiations a few hours later.

"As long as both sides are talking, we remain hopeful that a deal can be worked out," Keate said.

International and its parent company, Navistar International Corp., are no strangers to labor negotiations. The Canadian Auto Workers union held a six-week strike at its Chatham, Ontario heavy-duty truck plant this summer.

Though the strike was settled, the OEM announced last week that the Chatham plant would be shut down after June 1, 2003 for economic reasons. Work that was done in Canada will be shifted to International's Escobedo, Mexico plant.

Keate would not comment on the talks, but said there is a contingency plan in place that will be implemented if the UAW workers strike.

The labor contract was scheduled to expire October 1 but by mutual agreement had been extended indefinitely, subject to termination with at least 24 hours' notice by either the company or the union.

Scheduling flexibility and concessions in health insurance benefits have been top issues in the negotiations. Navistar's union employees do not make contributions to their health insurance plans or pay deductibles.