Goodyear said it was placing the new notes to repay existing notes due next month and in March, and would use approximately half of the proceeds for general purposes.
In a statement issued by the union, USW international president Leo Gerard stated: "Goodyear is already carrying about $6.4 billion dollars in debt, and its credit is poor and getting worse. Now they plan to borrow more money to flush down a rat hole of a fight they can never win.
"It is really time for the company’s owners to step forward and stop this madness," said Gerard. "Bob Keegan (Goodyear’s chairman and CEO) is looking increasingly like Captain Queeg in the ‘The Caine Mutiny.’”
Queeg, the union pointed out in its statement, is the fictional character in Herman Wouk’s 1951 novel, who was removed from command of a World War II minesweeper because of eccentric behavior that led to mistakes that endangered his crew.
USW international vice president Tom Conway, who also heads the union’s Goodyear negotiating team, added: "Quite simply, this latest move by the company is the wrong thing for the wrong reasons at the wrong time. When you borrow money, you have to pay it back, and to pay it back, Goodyear needs to build tires that people want to buy. This company has no such plan in place."
The USW says it represents some 17,000 workers at Goodyear plants in North America, or 2% of its claimed total membership of 850,000.