PITTSBURGH (July 27, 2006) — The United Steelworkers (USW) union is running radio spots condemning Akron-based Goodyear's desire to close U.S. tire plants in the future.
The commercials—which are running in Akron; Gadsden, Ala.; Tyler, Texas; and selected other markets where Goodyear facilities are located—are reflective of the gulf existing at the bargaining table between the union and company, a USW spokesman said.
“Three years ago, when Goodyear was on the ropes, we made the sacrifices to save the company,” the ad says. “Now Goodyear says it needs to close more American plants, even while it invests in low-wage countries and pays out millions in bonuses to top management.”
The spot continues: “The result is a flood of cheap imports and threats of more job cuts, higher medical costs and retirees left by the wayside.… Unless Goodyear abandons its reckless plans and starts working with us to find ways to keep building high-quality tires right here in America, there's nothing but storm clouds up ahead.”
Goodyear didn't respond specifically to the radio ad but reiterated its goals for negotiations with the union are to reduce its cost structure, maintain the highest productivity in the world and have competitive and predictable pension and healthcare costs.
“Both sides must make the difficult choices necessary for Goodyear to succeed in North America and continue to provide good jobs and benefits to thousands,” the company said. “Goodyear is deeply committed to the collective bargaining process and arriving at a resolution of the issues that is fair to all stakeholders.”
Goodyear and the union extended their master contract July 18 on a day-to-day basis. The USW has focused on the industry bargaining target, Michelin North America Inc.'s BFGoodrich tire manufacturing unit, reaching a tentative three-year contract agreement with the company July 25.
The union pacts with Goodyear, BFG and Bridgestone/Firestone expired July 22.