CINCINNATI (March 13)—Negotiators for Goodyear and the United Steelworkers of America kicked off the 2003 rubber industry master contract negotiations March 13 by opening bargaining sessions in Cincinnati. The talks involve 14 USWA locals representing about 20,000 members working at Goodyear, Dunlop and Kelly-Springfield tire and rubber facilities in the U.S. Master contracts with workers at Goodyear and Dunlop plants lapse April 19; the Kelly pact expires July 6. The union begins negotiations with the other "Big Three" U.S. tire companies—Michelin North America Inc. and Bridgestone/Firestone Americas Holding Inc.—within the week as well. Their contracts expire April 23. A target company—one with which the union sets a bargaining pattern which is traditionally followed by the other makers—won't be selected for several weeks, but Goodyear said it wants to be chosen. The financially troubled tire maker opened up its books for the USWA to examine prior to the talks so the union would "have all the facts," a Goodyear spokesman said. The company is the largest employer of USWA members and doesn't want another firm to determine the contract standards, thereby putting its business and employees in jeopardy, the spokesman said. The union is looking to confront Goodyear and the other tire companies on several issues during negotiations this year, particularly investment in North American plants, overseas production, pension funding, neutrality and medical and drug costs
Goodyear-USWA start contract talks
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