Cincinnati, Ohio - Initial proposals from Goodyear in its master contract talks with the United Steelworkers include no protection from closure for three of its tyre plants, according to a USW Web site.
Representatives for Goodyear and the union began 2006 negotiations June 9 in Cincinnati, and the information exchanged during the first meetings show "huge differences" in bargaining expectations, the USW said. In the company's initial proposal, tyre plants in Gadsden, Alabama; Union City, Tennessee; and Tyler, Texas, would have no protection from closure during the life of the contract.
The union said in March that protection of its members' jobs would be one of its top priorities in the coming negotiations
The Tyler plant received only partial protection from closure during the current contract - which began in 2003 and expires July 22 - but the Gadsden and Union City sites had full protection. Goodyear closed its Huntsville, Alabama, tyre plant at the end of 2003.
Those three plants also could be affected by GoodyearÂ´s decision to reduce its North American production of private label tyres. The company announced yesterday that over the next 12 months it would cut production of up to 10 private label brands representing about $300 million in annual sales to focus on more profitable segments of its business.
In addition to the Gadsden, Union City, and Tyler sites, Goodyear's Fayetteville, North Carolina, and Valleyfield, Quebec, tyre plants could face cuts as well. The Fayetteville workers are covered in the master contract, and the USW represents workers in Valleyfield as well.
The Goodyear master contract covers about 12 600 employees at 12 tyre and rubber product plants in the US.
Talks also have begun between the USW and negotiators for Michelin North America Inc.'s BFGoodrich tyre manufacturing unit and Bridgestone/Firestone.
Representatives for the union and BFG met for the first time June 8 in Knoxville, Tennessee. The union was scheduled to present its initial proposals to BFG negotiators on 21 June, a USW spokesman said. Their pact, which also expires 22 July, covers about 3400 employees at three plants.
BFS and the USW opened contract discussions 14 June in St. Louis, and the two sides planned to exchange proposals on 21 June. Agreements between BFS and the USW include a master contract covering six tyre and rubber product plants and separate deals with workers at the company's Bloomington, Illinois, and Warren County, Tennessee, tyre facilities.
The pacts expire July 23 and cover about 6000 workers.
From Rubber & Plastics News (A Crain publication)