CINCINNATI (Aug. 21)—Negotiators for Goodyear and the United Steelworkers of America reached a tentative agreement on a new three-year master contract Aug. 21, but one of the company´s plants and its workers will be casualties of the deal. As part of the agreement, Goodyear will close its Dunlop passenger and light truck tire plant in Huntsville, Ala., which employs about 1,300 people and more than 1,000 USWA members. The closure should take place by the end of the year. The agreement now must be ratified by a majority of the 14 locals covered by the contract representing a majority of the workers. The two sides worked long days and late nights since Aug. 17, when the company made the offer on which the tentative agreement is based. The USWA's bargaining committee spent much of the time analyzing and going back to the company for clarification on various issues and language. Further details of the proposal won't be available until the union shares the information with its members, Goodyear said. But the agreement does support the "business turnaround needs of the company, strengthens our relationship with the USWA and addresses the key concerns of its members and retirees," according to Jim Allen, Goodyear director of global labor relations. Goodyear has been seeking more than $900 million in labor cost cuts during the next three years, while the union wanted job and plant security at its unionized locations. A summary of the agreement will be provided to all covered USWA members in the next few days, and explanation meetings will be scheduled at all sites in the coming weeks, the union said. The USWA represents nearly 20,000 active and laid-off employees and about 22,000 retirees at the 14 sites covered by its master agreement. The advisory committee of the USWA's Rubber/Plastics Industry Conference also will review the tentative agreement to determine whether it should be used as the bargaining pattern for the tire and rubber industry, the union said. Goodyear was chosen as the target company for 2003 negotiations back in April.
Goodyear, USWA reach tentative agreement
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