By Chris Sweeney, Crain News Service
AKRON (Nov. 3, 2013) — Goodyear and United Steelworkers (USW) locals at six U.S. tire plants have reached tentative agreements on supplemental contracts pertaining to "local issues and policies," according to a USW spokesman.
The pacts are a supplement to the national contract approved earlier this year by the locals.
Goodyear plants in Topeka, Kan.; Gadsden, Ala.; Buffalo, N.Y.; and Danville, Va., were scheduled to vote on the local agreements during the week of Oct. 27. A spokesman at the USW confirmed that the Topeka plant was scheduled to vote on Oct. 30 and 31.
Workers at the Akron and Fayetteville, N.C., plants already ratified their local contracts, the USW spokesman said. According to the Fayetteville local website, the vote passed with a 73.6-percent favorable margin.
Goodyear would not comment on any of the deals until they are all ratified, a company spokesman said.
The Topeka plant set a deadline of Oct. 25 at 1 p.m., to have a deal, or the workers would strike. The agreement was reached about an hour before that.
Roughly 1,400 of the 1,550 employees at Topeka are unionized. The main issue was wording in regards to how employees could schedule vacation on weekends, according to Jody Juarez, vice president of USW Local 307.
"This was just some clean-up language on local issues and policies," Juarez said. "There was no money."
The issue was over whether or not Saturday and Sunday would be considered preferred days or not. According to Mr. Juarez, weekends were termed preferred days when the plant was operating on a conventional work schedule. Since then, it switched to a six and two-thirds schedule, but the contract still labeled Saturday and Sunday as preferred days.
The union wanted that language removed because weekends became part of the regular working schedule.