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Goodyear Says It Wants BFS/Union Deal Done First

(Akron/Tire Review) In an interesting twist to the current round of master contract talks, Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. has told the United Steelworkers that it wants he union to reach a deal with Bridgestone/Firestone before it will continue negotiations.

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It was expected that talks between Goodyear and the USW were further along than those between the union and Bridgestone/Firestone, and that the union’s talks with Bridgestone/Firestone would be more difficult.

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In a statement issued last Friday, Goodyear said: “Goodyear negotiators met with the Steelworkers bargaining committee on Sept. 7 to discuss the current status of negotiations. Jim Allen, Goodyear’s chief negotiator, reiterated the company’s need to achieve a contract that does not place Goodyear at a competitive disadvantage.

“Allen reminded the USW negotiators that they failed to maintain an industry pattern agreement in 2003 when Goodyear was the target. Accordingly, it’s important for Goodyear to see the union ‘s agreement with Bridgestone/Firestone before bringing Goodyear’s 2006 round of bargaining to closure.”

The USW and Goodyear are working under day-to-day extensions of its previous contract, which expired July 22.

There was no immediate reaction from the Steelworkers.

Goodyear has stated many times that it will not settle for a pattern agreement with the USW. "Each tiremaker has issues and concerns that are unique to itself and a ‘template’ agreement should not be mistaken as a ‘one-size-fits-all’ solution,” said Jon Rich, president of Goodyear’s North American Tire division, before the start of contract talks.

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