AKRON (Nov. 9) — Goodyear and the United Steelworkers seem to be one step closer to meeting at the bargaining table.
Goodyear's negotiating team unilaterally returned today to Cincinnati, the site of earlier contract bargaining, a company spokesman said. Earlier in the day the firm revealed the full details of its latest offer on its negotiating Web site.
"We're following through on our position that we are ready to negotiate," the spokesman said.
Also today, the USW released a statement that reiterated "its readiness to bargain." A union spokesman said at the USW was prepared to return to Cincinnati, but didn't know precisely when it would arrive.
"We stand ready to bargain a fair labor agreement, as we always have, and assume by this announcement that the company has abandoned its destructive position on closing plants and slashing health care," Tom Conway, a USW International vice president, said in the statement.
USW President Leo Gerard said the union looks "forward to productive discussions whereby our members can return to making quality products."
More than 15,000 Steelworkers members have been on strike since Oct. 5 at 16 Goodyear locations in the U.S. and Canada. The main issues have centered on plant protection — Goodyear has announced intentions to close its Tyler, Texas, factory — and retiree health care benefits.