PITTSBURGH (Oct. 16) — The United Steelworkers responded negatively to Goodyear´s announcement last week that it is borrowing nearly $1 billion to improve its cash position during the union´s strike in the U.S. and Canada.
The length of strike is "entirely up to Goodyear," a union spokesman said, emphasizing the walkout will end as soon as Goodyear offers the USW a fair and equitable contract.
"If they want to waste $1 billion of the shareholders´ money before they do it, that is sad, but our need for a fair and equitable contract will not change," he said.
Goodyear borrowed $300 million on Oct. 5 — the day the strike began —and another $675 million on Oct. 13. Both were under Goodyear´s $1.5 billion U.S. First Lien Credit Facility, which is now almost fully drawn considering its $500 million deposit-funded facility, the company added.
The Akron tire maker is shipping product to customers from existing inventory, operating non-affected tire plants as usual and operating affected plants with salaried employees in addition to importing supply from international operations.
About 15,000 USW workers at 16 North American sites are participating in the strike. The master contract between the union and Goodyear covering more than 12,000 workers at 12 U.S. tire and rubber product plants expired in July, but was extended while talks continued. The USW chose to terminate the extension earlier this month.