Steelworkers approve three-year contract with Goodyear

Monday, September 15th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

PITTSBURGH (AP) _ Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. employees approved a new three-year contract that allows the nation's biggest tire company to contain health care, benefit and wage costs in return for job security, company and union officials said Monday.

The agreement, reached after more than five months of negotiations, was approved by about 70 percent of the United Steelworkers' Goodyear employees who voted and all but one of the company's 14 union locals. Ratification required approval by at least eight locals and an overall majority.

The contract, which replaces one that expired April 19, covers at least 16,000 employees at 14 plants in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, Alabama, Nebraska, Wisconsin, New York, Kansas, Texas and Tennessee, plus about 22,000 retirees.

Goodyear, which has been struggling financially and lost $236.9 million for the first half of the year, makes tires, rubber products and chemicals.

Its turnaround plan includes reducing costs by $1 billion to $1.5 billion by the end of 2005 and possibly selling some of its non-tire businesses. Earlier this year, Goodyear eliminated approximately 700 salaried positions, the majority of them at its Akron, Ohio, headquarters.