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Wednesday, November 22nd, 2006

Union official: Fire at St. Marys Goodyear is not related to strike

By Janie Southard
A Tuesday fire at the local Goodyear plant is unrelated to the breakdown in the second round of talks between the company and the striking Steelworkers union, according to a United Steelworkers Local 200L spokesman.
"I'm trying to get information from the company. Whatever went wrong was inside the plant. I do know the plant was evacuated," USW Local 200L Vice President Rick Niekamp of St. Marys said this morning.    
St. Marys Firefighter Matt Schrolucke confirmed the local department was called in to assist in fighting a fire inside the Goodyear plant, which was evacuated Tuesday afternoon. The situation was under control when the St. Marys department left within 40 minutes of arrival.
No other information was available by press time, pending input from Goodyear's own fire brigade personnel.
Meanwhile at the negotiations site in Cincinnati, union negotiators have left the Goodyear team still working on a proposal. The union will come back when the company has something to show them, according to Niekamp.
Back on the picket line, spirits are "fairly good," the vice president told The Daily Standard this morning.
Rumors are circulating that strikers are crossing the line to return to work at Goodyear. However, Niekamp said so far no one has crossed the line.
Goodyear sent a letter to each union member a couple weeks ago stating all benefits and salary would be restored if they came back to work within 90 days of the strike, which began Oct. 5.
"We hope that doesn't happen," said Niekamp, who also confirmed that some strikers have gone to work at other local companies.
"There are a few finding jobs, mostly temporary ... We have to feed our families," he said, adding the strike is wearing on everyone. "But the people serving time on the line are fairly upbeat."
Strikers receive no pay other than vouchers from the USW Strike Fund for food ($65 per week) and gasoline ($25 per week).
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