The United Steelworkers (USW) announced today that a new contract at Goodyear Tire and Rubber was approved at all Locals and overall by membership by more than a two-to-one margin. More than 10,000 USW-represented members voted at the 12 locations where 14,000 Steelworkers struck on October 5. A majority of the majority principle applied, meaning that a majority of the locals as well as a majority of the overall membership voted to accept the Tentative Agreement as the new contract.
The new contract establishes a company-financed trust of more than $1 billion that will secure medical and prescription drug benefits for current and future retirees. Future contributions will include diverted COLA (cost of living allowances) payments and profit-sharing funds. Affordable, high-quality medical and prescription drug coverage for its active and retired membership was also maintained.
"To secure jobs, we had to obtain enough money to keep our plants globally competitive," said USW International vice president Tom Conway. "The $550 million in new capital expenditure commitments is the result of our objective of enhancing the ability of USW-represented plants to meet the challenges of the international marketplace."
The new contract that requires Goodyear to rescind its demand for immediate closure of its Tyler, Texas, plant, and provides for a one-year period of transition during which workers will have the opportunity to take advantage of sizeable retirement buyouts.
"It's a bittersweet outcome," said Kevin Johnsen, USW-Goodyear Contract Coordinator. "We wanted to win Tyler protected status like the other plants, but we only got it for 2007. Still the company has committed to building the Tyler ticket in USW-plants as long as the company stays in those markets." That commitment will prevent the company from outsourcing that work or servicing this market segment with imports.
The Tentative Agreement was endorsed by the USW's Goodyear Policy Committee, composed of local union leaders from the 12 facilities involved in the contract talks on December 22. Members were presented with a Summary of the Tentative Agreement at informational meetings held on December 27 and 28. The ratification votes also took place on Wednesday and Thursday.
The new contract covers tire and engineered product plants in: Akron, St. Marys and Marysville, Ohio; Gadsden, Ala.; Buffalo, New York; Lincoln, Nebraska; Topeka, Kansas; Fayetteville, North Carolina; Danville, Virginia; Tyler, Texas; Sun Prairie, Wisconsin; and Union City, Tennessee.