The United Steelworkers (USW) called a strike against Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. after it rejected Goodyear’s “final offer” this morning. The strike involves 15,000 USW members, 12 U.S. plants covered under the master labor agreement and four additional facilities in Canada.
Goodyear said its proposal would have “improved its competitive position while maintaining a substantial commitment to manufacturing in North America.” USW said that the proposal would have closed more plants.
“We simply cannot accept a contract that knowingly creates a competitive disadvantage versus our foreign-owned competition and increases our cost disadvantage versus imports,” said Jim Allen, Goodyear’s chief negotiator.
“We cannot allow additional plant closures after the sacrifices we made three years ago to help this company survive,” USW executive vp Ron Hoover said, referring to the closure of a Huntville, AL plant the union agreed to in 2003. That agreement also included wage, pension and health care cuts, USW added. “We worked very hard with the company in 2003 to deal with a difficult situation. While more work can be done, Goodyear has rebounded and other stakeholders have been rewarded accordingly.”
Goodyear said its final offer delivered to the union this morning included provisions for job security and significant investments for USW-represented plants, a company-funded plan to secure retiree medical benefits and restoration of prior pension service credit.
“We remain willing to continue to bargain with the Steelworkers,” Allen said. “In the meantime we have implemented our strike contingency plans at the affected facilities and are working to minimize the impact on our customers.”
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