AKRON (July 14) — Despite Michelin North America Inc.´s BFGoodrich unit´s being chosen as the 2006 bargaining target for the tire industry, Goodyear plans on continuing contract talks with the United Steelworkers union to make progress towards an agreement, according to Jon Rich, the company´s North American Tire president.
In a message of a Goodyear Web-site, Rich said that while a pattern agreement with BFG might serve as a template for contracts with other tire makers, each company "has issues and concerns that are unique to itself." A template should not be mistaken as a "one-size-fits-all" solution, he said.
Goodyear was the bargaining target in 2003.
The Akron tire maker has stated its goal in this round of master contract negotiations is to reach accord with the union so it "helps us win with customers." The company is stressing a significantly lower cost structure in North America, having the highest productivity in the world, and reducing future legacy liabilities for pensions and health care that are "uncompetitive and unpredictable."
The current USW/Goodyear contract — which expires July 22 — covers about 12,400 employees at 12 tire and rubber product plants. The company announced last month it would cut production of private label tires by about a third, which could affect jobs at up to four sites falling under the master contract.