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Goodyear Closes in on Union Health Care Program

Goodyear and the United Steelworkers took a major step toward resolving health care costs for union members and retirees by creating an independent health care trust managed by the union and initially funded by the tiremaker.

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The health care change was negotiated as part of Goodyear’s latest deal with the union, which was reached last December.

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A federal court gave Goodyear preliminary approval for a settlement with the USW, which the two parties reached in October. Under the plan, Goodyear will put $1 billion into a special trust fund – a Voluntary Employees Beneficiary Association – that the USW will manage for members and retirees. Active USW will then fund the program though contributions from COLA increases and profit sharing.

The VEBA program is expected to save Goodyear some $110 million per year.

Barring any unexpected delays, the program should take effect by mid-2008. (Tire Review/Akron)

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