• Pensions. Goodyear has transitioned most of its U.S. employees from pension plans to defined contribution plans and seeks to move the rest, according to the company.
"As with salaried associates, hourly new hires now participate in a defined contribution plan," the website said. "While the hourly defined benefit plans for pre-2007 USW workers have not been frozen, Goodyear has experienced periods of declines in interest rates and pension asset values, resulting in significant underfunding."
• Productivity. "Goodyear's goal for its North American manufacturing operations is to be competitive within North America and with the rest of the world," the website said. "A work force that's committed to the same goal is critical to the company's long-term success."
• Flexibility. "Goodyear manufactures tires in North America for its North American customers," the website said. "In a rapidly changing economic environment, Goodyear's facilities must have workers in the right place, at the right time, producing the right products at the right cost."
• Benefits. Bargaining unit employees are eligible for medical benefits and participation in Goodyear's 401(k) plan after 90 days of employment, according to the website. "Goodyear, like many U.S. employers, continues to face double-digit inflation for its medical benefits costs annually," it said.
The clearest union statement to date came from the website of USW Local 831, which organizes workers at the Goodyear Danville plant.
"Once again, thanks for the 95-percent positive strike vote!" said a June 27 website message from Jeff Dixon, vice president of Local 831.
The USW had no word on how many of the facilities affected by contract negotiations have passed strike authorization measures if there is no new contract on July 27.
In the 2009 negotiations, some 4,500 Bridgestone workers in five plants were covered by the contract approved at that time. Workers in Akron; Des Moines, Iowa; Russellville, Ark.; and LaVergne, Tenn., voted to accept the master contract, while workers in Warren County, Tenn., ratified a separate agreement.
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