PITTSBURGH (Dec. 14) — AFL-CIO President John Sweeney and United Steelworkers President Leo Gerard will hold a media teleconference to discuss the Dec. 16 nationwide labor movement protest against Goodyear, where about 15,000 workers have been strike at 16 company sites since Oct. 5.
The teleconference will be held at 10:30 a.m. EST Dec. 15. In addition to Sweeney and Gerard, a striking USW member will join the call on Friday to offer perspective from the front lines of the strike.
The Dec. 16 protest will involve actions by union and community activists at more than 100 tire store locations across the country to condemn "Goodyear´s assault on the living standards of its workers and abandonment of health care for some 30,000 retirees," a USW release said.
The effort is intended to educate the public about the company´s contract proposal, which the union says calls for reduced jobs and drastically scaled back health care coverage for Goodyear workers and retirees.
A Goodyear spokesman, asked about the union´s campaign, replied: "Our focus is on running our business."
The strike began after negotiations between the two sides went nowhere on several issues, the most noteworthy being job security and retiree health care. The three-year master contract agreement between Goodyear and the union, covering more than 12,000 workers at 12 U.S. plants, expired July 22.
Goodyear announced after the strike began it was closing its Tyler, Texas, tire facility by next summer, and the union claims the one-time contribution of $660 million to a trust to fund retiree medical health care isn´t enough to remain viable in the long-term. Goodyear´s offer also proposed diverting $1 of future cost-of-living allowances to the trust, with the option of directing profit sharing funds there as well.