CINCINNATI (Aug. 19, 2003) — United Steelworkers of America (USWA) negotiators are carefully considering the latest contract proposal from Goodyear following a weekend of long days and late nights at the bargaining table.
The last offer, presented by Goodyear on Aug. 17, is one of many proposals exchanged by the two sides since Aug. 14, according to a USWA Web site. The company told the union Aug. 13 it was going to begin implementing its cost-cutting plan to turn the company around financially — which includes major reductions in workers and capacity — if no tentative agreement was reached by mid-day Aug. 15.
But negotiations continued past the deadline, with spokesmen for both sides saying progress was being made during “intense” bargaining sessions. The union is taking its time reviewing the latest proposal, saying the issues involved are more complex than in the past.
The two sides have been far apart in several areas, including investment and job security at the company's unionized North American facilities, financial restructuring and debt reduction, and health care benefits for active and retired employees. Goodyear has struggled in the past few years, and lost nearly $237 million in the first six months of 2003.
The USWA represents nearly 20,000 workers at 14 Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly-Springfield tire and rubber plants in the U.S. and Canada.