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The Daily



08-21-03: Goodyear, union reach new tentative contract


    ST. MARYS - After more than five months of negotiating, a tentative three-year contract has been reached between the bargaining teams of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and its employee union.
    United Steelworkers of America Local 200 spokesman Gary McMullen, who works in the St. Marys Goodyear plant, this morning said both sides of the bargaining team agreed on the contract proposal after a weekend of intense negotiating. The contract still must be voted on by all union members before it can be ratified. McMullen expects the vote to take place in the next couple of weeks.
    As of this morning, no details were available about the contract offer, McMullen said.
    "They are putting it all together before they release anything," he said.
    A newsletter from the union negotiating committee that was circulated around the St. Marys plant this morning said the terms of the agreement will be documented in a complete summary provided to all members during the next few weeks. Explanation meetings will be held at all union locations to discuss the details, the letter also said.
    The company's contract with the union expired April 19 but had been extended while negotiations continued. The union twice rejected contract offers by the company and even talked about a strike due to disagreements on job security and healthcare issues.
    The contract covers more than 19,000 workers and 22,000 retired employees at Goodyear, Kelly-Springfield and Dunlop plants across the United States. The St. Marys union has 525 members.
    "We feel the job security and healthcare issues were addressed adequately," union spokesman Wayne Ranick told The Daily Standard this morning. "In the perimeters we were facing and with the financial situation at Goodyear, we think the union representatives will be bringing back a deal that workers will accept."
    The company reported a record $1.1 billion annual loss for fiscal year 2002. It has announced a turnaround plan that includes reducing costs by $1 billion to $1.5 billion by the end of 2005 and possibly selling some of its non-tire businesses.
   "We've said all along that the agreement must provide Goodyear with the financial flexibility and capability necessary to support our turnaround plan," Goodyear spokesman Chuck Sinclair told The Daily Standard this morning. "This agreement does."


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