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Saturday, July 14th, 2007

Union, Carlysle Group reach tentative deal

By Janie Southard
ST. MARYS - United Steelworkers (USW) and the Carlysle Group reached a tentative agreement late Thursday night.
If ratified by a simple majority of the union workforce, the local Goodyear plant and 31 others in Goodyear's Engineered Products Division will be owned by Carlysle Group and would operate as EPD Inc.
"It looks fine but I cannot give any details until the information is presented to our members at an informational meeting, which we're setting up right now (to take place) in about two weeks," USW Local 200 Vice President Rick Niekamp told The Daily Standard during a telephone Friday afternoon.
Niekamp would not comment on if the deal would include employee buyouts or as to the length of the possible new contract between Carlysle and the 6,000 plus union employees working in Goodyear's Engineered Products Division worldwide.
"If we ratify, Carlysle will own the place but I don't know how long the actual (turnover process) will take," Niekamp said. "Of course, we'll still be under the Goodyear sign."
Terms of the sale that took place in March made the Goodyear name and trademark available to EPD for the next two decades. Carlysle offered $1.475 billion for the Goodyear division, the sale of which can only be completed when an acceptable master contract is reached with the USW.
Negotiations have been on and off since early June and began in earnest last Monday in Pittsburgh, home of the union's international headquarters.
Recently the City of St. Marys and Auglaize County commissioners approved the transfer of Goodyear's exisiting enterprise zone agreement to EPD Inc. At that time a Goodyear representative said the sale is expected to be completed by early September.
Of the total plants involved in the sale, six are union plants located in the United States and Canada. The other facilities are in Europe. The entire Goodyear division generated sales of more than $1.5 billion last year.
The Carlyle Group is a Washington, D.C.-based global private equity investment firm with more than $56 billion of equity capital under management, a Web site about the firm states.
The firm operates four fund families, focusing on leveraged buyouts, venture and growth capital, real estate and leveraged finance investments. The firm employs more than 395 investment professionals in 18 countries with several offices in North America, Europe and Asia; its portfolio companies employ 200,000 people worldwide. Carlyle has over 1000 investors in 57 countries.
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