Steelworkers Set to Ratify Goodyear Agreement

Plants Protected from Closure and Supported by $600 million in Capital Improvements

Contact: Gerald Dickey, 412-562-2281
             Kevin Johnsen, 256-546-6960

Pittsburgh – The United Steelworkers (USW) today announced that the tentative Master Agreement negotiated with Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company covering some 10,300 USW members at seven plants is being submitted to the rank and file for a secret ballot referendum vote that is expected to be concluded by Sept. 18.

Meetings and discussions between local union leaders and members are taking place at all locations in advance of the vote.  USW contract coordinator Kevin Johnsen said that contract summaries have been made available and the membership will have plenty of time to digest all the information before voting.

“The contract must be approved by a majority of the membership and a majority of the plants,” Johnsen said.

A Good Deal in Tough Times

The previous labor agreement expired July 18 and the contract was extended twice before the tentative settlement was reached.

“Our priorities were to protect our plants and our jobs while maintaining good, affordable health care in a difficult economic climate,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway.  “This contract achieved these goals in addition to making some other needed improvements such as securing resources the union can defer to assist our retirees.”

“In a global economy, capital investment is crucial in keeping our plants competitive,” Conway said.  “This agreement requires Goodyear to invest a minimum of $600 million in capital expenditures to maintain our production facilities with state-of-the-art equipment.  This not only means job security for our members but also a continuing commitment to the communities that support these facilities.”

The proposed Master Agreement protects the following plants against closure: Akron, Ohio; Gadsden, Ala.; Buffalo, N.Y.; Topeka, Kan.; Danville, Va., and Fayetteville, N.C. In addition, minimum staffing levels will be maintained and no shift in production from these plants may be made to any non-USW represented production facility. 

In the event that the company decides to no longer produce truck tires at Buffalo, 200 separation allowance buyouts will be made available to employees there.  The buyouts are calculated at $2,000 per year of service with a maximum payout of $50,000.  An additional 400 separation buyouts have been negotiated for employees at all other locations in the event of a further downturn in the market.

Improvements for Recent Hires

The cost-of-living provision in the previous contract continues for all employees.  Wage and benefit improvements have been made for employees who have been hired after Oct.1, 2006. They will receive two 50 cents an hour increases; the first coming after one year of service and the second after two years.  Additional vacation time will bring them closer to the levels of senior employees.  They will also be eligible to receive Accident & Sickness benefits, vision care as well as improved life insurance coverage.

Improved Pensions

Senior employees who retire under the new agreement will see their monthly pension multiplier increase by three dollars to $58 for each year of service.  An additional five dollar increase on the multiplier will be paid to employees who retire on or after Jan.1, 2010, for years of service accrued after that date.  Therefore, years of service up to Dec. 31, 2009 will be calculated with a pension multiplier of $58, and years following that will be calculated with a $63 multiplier.

Example: John Smith hired in December 1979 and retires in December 2012:

 30 years x  $58.00  =    $1,740.00
   3 years x  $63.00  =  +$   189.00
  Total Pension         =   $1,929.00

Employees hired after Dec. 22, 2006 and covered by the Defined Contribution Pension Plan (DCP) will receive a contribution from the company of three percent of an employee’s compensation during a payroll period.

The recent hires with continuous service prior to the date of the agreement will also receive a retroactive pension contribution of five percent of their earnings. Going forward, they will also be eligible for a 50 percent matching contribution on the first four percent of their contributions into the 401k plan.

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