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Striking Goodyear workers voting on proposed contract

Striking Goodyear workers voting on proposed contract

Some of the 14,000 striking Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. workers began voting Wednesday on a proposed labor deal reached with the world's third-largest tiremaker while others studied the pact and prepared to vote Thursday.
Larry Watchorn, 49, a 22-year Goodyear employee who voted on the deal in Lincoln, Nebraska, said he believes the agreement will pass.
"People want to get back to work. It'll be the best deal they can get," Watchorn said.
United Steelworkers union members, including about 1,400 laid off and inactive workers, in 10 states were scheduled to vote by Thursday on the three-year agreement reached last week. Some voted Wednesday.
Workers at four Goodyear plants in Ontario, Canada, where about 400 union members have been on strike, do not have a tentative agreement but will vote anyway on a separate company proposal, a Goodyear spokesman said.
One key difference during the nearly 3-month-old strike had been over a company proposed health care fund for retirees.
Goodyear ultimately agreed to put $1 billion (euro760 million) into the fund for retired union workers' medical benefits, which was higher than the company's previous $660 million (euro502 million) offer but less than the union's call for roughly double that amount.
Goodyear has said the tentative pact would help the Akron-based company significantly reduce its costs and allow it to be more globally competitive.
Jack Hefner, president of USW Local 2L in Akron, which represents 470 workers at a racing tire plant and a rubber mixing factory, said the local's leadership is not recommending which way to vote.
One worry among workers is the retiree health fund, he said.
"The concern is that unless additional money is put into it that eventually that money is going to run out. A $1 billion fund is a lot of money, but today's medical costs can eat that up pretty quick," Hefner said.
The strike began Oct. 5. Goodyear and the union reached the deal after both sides resumed talks in Pittsburgh about two weeks ago.
The tentative deal allows Goodyear to stick with its plans to close the plant in Tyler, Texas, but not immediately. It provides for a one-year transition period during which workers will have the opportunity to take advantage of retirement buyouts. The plant employs 1,100 workers who make unprofitable wholesale private label tires.
Goodyear has about 80,000 employees and makes tires, engineered rubber products and chemicals in 29 countries.
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On the Net:
http://www.gkdsolidarityexpress.org
http://www.goodyearnegotiations.com


Updated : 2020-12-02 03:11 GMT+08:00