By LANCE MIHM
ST. MARYS — Union members at St. Marys Goodyear plant
on Sunday voted 237-82 for the new contract offered by management
Four other Goodyear plants already have approved the contract.
The other nine plants have until Sept. 15 to vote on it.
President Gary Glass of United Steelworkers of America Local
200 in St. Marys said the overall feeling was “positive”
as workers listened to details of the contract during two organized
meetings Sunday at the union hall.
“You are always going to have some that are upset,”
Glass said. “But I was happy with the vote.”
The contract must be approved by both a majority of the plants
and a majority of union members, Glass said. Some of the larger
plant locals have yet to vote.
The union negotiating committee was able to gain a spot on the
Goodyear company board of directors in the proposed contract,
something they had not been able to get in the past, Glass said.
The three-year contract also says new buyers must negotiate
contracts with the union if the company sells any of the 14
plants included in the contract. Twelve of the 14 plants must
run at 85 percent manpower capacity of their current functioning
now, and a plant in Tyler, Texas must operate at 70 percent,
the contract says.
Employees would pay $9 a week for family heath insurance coverage,
and prescription co-pays were set at $10 for generic and $25
for non-generic, up from $6 and $12. Cost of living raises would
be frozen for October, and a 25 cent an hour cap would be put
on any ensuing evaluations.
“Our biggest disappointment was not being able to save
the Huntsville (Alabama) plant,” Glass said. “We
wanted to be able to keep it open, but it didn’t work
While the Alabama plant will close, the union’s negotiating
committee was able to keep the Texas plant open, which the company
had contemplated closing.
Plant management also agreed in the contract to operate more
efficiently. By using more efficient measures in production,
the contract calls for $3 million to be saved. The company saw
a $1.1 billion annual loss in fiscal year 2002.
Glass said the negotiations had came a long way from the beginning.
“They had wanted wage cuts and so forth and we were able
to get rid of that,” Glass said. “Locally we will
work on productivity and keep up with our end of the bargain.”
Details that will affect retired workers have not yet been released
pending a meeting with retirees at the union hall at 9 a.m.
Wednesday. Glass did say that retirees will experience prescription
drug price increases.
Bargaining for a new contract began March 12, and the union’s
bargaining committee twice rejected offers before accepting
the proposal penned last month.
The contract covers more than 19,000 active workers and 22,000
retirees at Goodyear, Kelly-Springfield and Dunlop plants across
the United States. The local union has 525 members.
The company makes tires, engineered rubber products and chemicals
at more than 90 plants in 28 countries. It employs about 92,000