PITTSBURGH—While Goodyear's decision to locate a $550 million tire plant in Mexico might be considered a blow to the United Steelworkers, the labor union that represents about 9,000 Goodyear workers in the U.S. is claiming a partial victory.
The USW said it negotiated a commitment from Goodyear to invest a like amount in its unionized U.S. plants for “high-value-added” tire production above and beyond the $700 million the tire maker already had budgeted for 2015.
In a statement issued recently—in response to Goodyear announcing it would build its new plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico—Tom Conway, USW international vice president, said the union was able to “secure significant and specific capital improvement and expansion commitments from the company to ensure that existing USW plants continue to be a vital and expanding part of the company's manufacturing footprint.”
Focusing on that comment, the USW said in a statement: “The new commitment to capital investments in our USW plants is designed to be about equal to the amount Goodyear will spend on the new Mexican plant. It is in addition to the $700 million commitment in the current labor agreement and 2015 cap-ex budget.”
Goodyear did not confirm the USW's figure of $500 million in additional spending, but acknowledged it did commit to additional investment. “The demand for HVA tires in North and Latin America is projected to grow significantly over the next several years,” the company said in a statement. “Goodyear and the USW are committed to strengthening Goodyear's U.S. manufacturing environment in order to satisfy that demand and meet our customers' needs.
“Our previously announced capital commitments to Goodyear manufacturing facilities in the U.S.—as well as new and expanded investments that extend through the end of our next labor contract ...—will support our ability to respond to the high demand.”