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Goodyear workers vote on proposed contract that could end 12-week strike

Goodyear workers vote on proposed contract that could end 12-week strike

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. union workers were deciding Thursday whether to end their a 12-week strike of the world's third-largest tiremaker, voting on a contract that would result in the closing of a tire factory in Texas and provide a $1 billion (euro760 million) health care fund for retirees.
The proposed three-year labor pact reached Dec. 22 would cover about 14,000 employees at 12 Goodyear plants in 10 states and would end the strike that began Oct. 5.
USW spokesman Wayne Ranick said details about vote totals might be released Thursday night.
Terry Huddlestone, a 14-year Goodyear worker at an Akron factory that makes racing tires, said he voted for the agreement, with some reservations.
"It's not agreeable with everyone," he said. "It's a give and take. We keep giving back and they keep taking. It's unfortunate.
"I love all these guys. God bless them. We've managed to stick it out for three months, but a lot of families are suffering."
Two United Steelworkers union locals that represent plants in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Union City, Tennessee, voted Wednesday to approve the contract. Other branches, including about 400 members of Local 2L in Akron, where Goodyear is based, were casting ballots Thursday.
The union members voting nationwide include active workers as well as about 1,400 inactive workers, which includes some who have been laid off.
In Tennessee, the contract was approved by 64 percent of union members who voted, union recording secretary Willis Hicks said. The local represents about 2,800 active and laid off workers at a plant that makes car tires.
If the contract is ratified, striking workers at a tire-making plant in Fayetteville, North Carolina, could be back at work as soon as Jan. 2, said Darryl Jackson, president of USW Local 959.
Workers at four Goodyear plants in Ontario, Canada, where about 400 union members are striking four plants, do not have a tentative agreement but planned to vote Thursday and Friday on a separate company proposal.
The Akron-based Goodyear is seeking a contract that will help it be more globally competitive.
The tentative deal allows Goodyear to stick with plans to close a plant in Tyler, Texas, but not immediately. It provides a one-year transition period during which workers will have the opportunity to take retirement buyouts. The plant employs 1,100 workers who make unprofitable wholesale private label tires.
A key issue had been the company's proposed health care fund for retirees. Goodyear ultimately agreed to put $1 billion into the fund for medical benefits, which was higher than the company's previous $660 million (euro501 million) offer but less than what the union had sought.
Goodyear has about 80,000 employees and makes tires, engineered rubber products and chemicals in 29 countries.
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Associated Press Writers Nate Jenkins in Lincoln, Nebraska, and Anna Jo Bratton in Omaha, Nebraska, contributed to this report.
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On the Net:
http://www.gkdsolidarityexpress.org
http://www.goodyearnegotiations.com


Updated : 2021-02-26 15:36 GMT+08:00