Tire Contract Talks Open, USW Already Unhappy - Tire Review Magazine

Tire Contract Talks Open, USW Already Unhappy

(Akron/Tire Review) Formal negotiations between the United Steelworkers (USW) and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. for a new master contract have opened, and already it appears negotiations will be difficult.

Both sides exchanged their basic contract proposals this past weekend in Cincinnati, with the USW finding the tiremaker’s initial proposal “unacceptable.” Talks are scheduled to open June 13.

According to the USW and news reports, Goodyear is looking for greater work rule and schedule flexibility, job classification changes, and reductions in healthcare and retiree benefits.

According to a report in the Akron Beacon Journal, Jon Rich, president of Goodyear’s North American Tire unit, told company employees in a letter, “From the beginning of our bargaining sessions, we will focus on reality, the way the world is, not the way it used to be or as we wish it would be.

“While we accomplished many things in the 2003 bargaining, we did not make the fundamental changes required to permanently fix Goodyear in 2006,” he said.

Negotiations between the USW and Michelin North America and Bridgestone/Firestone North American Tire are slated to open this month, as well. Contract talks between the Steelworkers and Continental Tire North America are stalled.

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