CINCINNATI (Aug. 16, 2006) — Bargaining committees for Goodyear and the United Steelworkers (USW) met last week for the first time since workers at Michelin North America Inc.'s BFGoodrich plants ratified a new three-year deal earlier this month, and the two sides are still “far apart,” the union said.
The committees met in joint session Aug. 11 and shared information regarding the BFGoodrich agreement and their upcoming talks. The two sides will resume negotiations later this week or early the week of Aug. 21, the union said.
According to a USW Web site, the union has received no indication Goodyear has abandoned its proposal to cut costs, including reducing job wage rates, eliminating the cost-of-living allowance system and providing no plant closure protection at three locations—Gadsden, Ala., Union City, Tenn., and Tyler, Texas. The company, however, has not shown an unwillingness to work out an agreement within the general pattern outlined by the BFGoodrich contract, the union said.
“Our contract at Goodyear will not be a copy of the one at BFGoodrich and both sides understand that to be the case. If, after reviewing the pattern agreement, Goodyear returns with the same or different 'cut and gut' proposals, we will still be far apart. We will spend time at the bargaining table and, if possible, reach an agreement,” the union's site said.
“The union will continue to prepare itself to strike, if necessary, in order to achieve a fair, equitable contract.”
The Goodyear/USW contract—covering 12,600 workers at 12 U.S. tire and rubber product plants—expired July 22. A day-to-day extension is in place.
The union also is negotiating with Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) as part of the 2006 tire industry master contract talks. The USW represents about 6,000 workers at eight BFS sites.