CINCINNATI-Goodyear and the United Rubber Workers have reached a tentative agreement on a master contract that gives workers a big leap in pensions and access to a type of profit sharing. The two sides reached the agreement in Cincinnati early April 24, about four hours after the old contract expired. It covers 12,200 workers at nine Goodyear locations. Among the main points in the proposed contract are:
Workers maintain the cost-of-living allowance. Since COLA was won in 1976 it has raised workers' wages about $9 an hour;
Pensions for future retirees will rise to $37 from $30 a month per year of service;
While no general wage increase was included, a performance-based bonus system will be set up. Employees and the company would each put $500 into a fund, from which the worker could get a bonus of up to $1,500, depending on company profits; and
A $500 signing bonus.
Both Goodyear and URW officials declined to comment on the package pending ratification votes, which should take place at union locals within two weeks. URW Local 2 in Akron was the first to schedule a vote, set for May 1.
Two Cleveland-based industry analysts said the tentative contract appears realistic.
``I look at the contract as a win-win plan all the way around,'' said Saul Ludwig, a securities analyst with Roulston & Co. Inc. He said the trend toward employees paying deductibles on health care is becoming more prevalent in both blue- and white-collar positions.
Harry Millis of Fundamental Research Inc. said the performance-based bonus system is becoming more common among industrial unions, especially where there is global competition.
``It keeps the company viable and it protects jobs,'' the analyst said. ``You also have the employees participate in the up side. Incentive methods on production do seem to work.''
Mr. Millis also expects the contract to be one URW President Kenneth L. Coss will be able to sell to the rank-and-file. ``When push comes to shove at the local level, workers realize it's better to have a job. There's only so much you can squeeze out.''
Coming into the negotiations, URW members under the master contract at Goodyear, Bridgestone/Firestone Inc. and Uniroyal Goodrich Tire Co. made an average of $16.73 an hour in straight wages and another $15.69 an hour in benefits, said Stephen Clem, URW director of research and international affairs. The union hasn't estimated the total to be added under the new agreement.
The pattern settlement has been presented to negotiators for BFS and Uniroyal Goodrich, where it covers 4,200 and 5,400 workers, respectively.