PITTSBURGH (Sept. 21, 2009)—A new four-year deal between the United Steelworkers union and Goodyear takes effect today following the completion of ratification voting late last week.
The pact, covering about 10,300 workers at seven company plants, will run through July 27, 2013. The majority of workers at the majority of the unionized plants needed to approve the contract for ratification, and the members at Goodyear's Danville, Va., tire plant were the only group to reject it.
The agreement reflects the commitment of Goodyear and the USW to continue to work together to achieve their common goals of world-class competitiveness, said Richard J. Kramer, the company's chief operating officer and president of its North American Tire unit.
Six of the seven plants will be protected from closure during the life of the contract, with the exception being the radial passenger and light truck tire plant in Union City, Tenn. The company also committed to invest $600 million in capital expenditures in the protected plants, helping to keep them up to date and globally competitive.
The Union City site, which employs nearly 1,800 Steelworkers, has been severely impacted by the deluge of cheap tires from China during the recent market downturn, the union said. A local agreement between Goodyear and the plant negotiated in April provided for up to 600 worker buyouts.
The Akron tire maker has not announced any plans to close the Union City plant.
The USW also announced that a framework for a tentative agreement was reached Sept. 21 with Bridgestone Americas Inc. About 4,500 Steelworkers staff seven company tire and rubber product plants. Negotiators are expected to leave Louisville, Ky.—where negotiations have been taking place since June—this week, and are targeting Oct. 1 as a ratification date, a USW spokesman said.
Workers at Michelin North America Inc.'s unionized BFGoodrich tire plants ratified a three-year deal with the company last month.