USW and Goodyear Still at Table
(Akron/Tire Review) While renewed negotiations with Goodyear have reportedly made little ground, the United Steelworkers continues to bang away at the tyremaker. Even as master contract negotiations restarted Monday after a six-week break, the USW took the company to task for its positions and announced a “nationwide day of action” against the company and its products.
Goodyear and the USW continue to meet in Cincinnati, restarting talks that ended when the Steelworkers struck 16 Goodyear plants in North America on 5 October. Both sides reported no progress had been made.
On 14 November, the day talks restarted, the USW published a Solidarity Alert bulletin on its Web site, calling Goodyear’s plan to handle retiree healthcare costs “an immoral and unworkable solution to this issue.” Goodyear proposes establishing a healthcare trust for retirees, which will seeded by $660 million from the company and then funded by union worker contributions.
“The $660 million that the company proposed to contribute to this (plan) represents approximately half of their obligation on this issue,” the union said. “Why would we ever allow the company to steal more than $500 million from defenseless retirees, their widows, and active members when we finally do need it! How could we possibly allow the Company to take that money and use it to line the pockets of their millionaire bosses?
“While there are numerous other offensive proposals on the table including unworkable issues in the collective bargaining and wage/incentive areas, until Goodyear owns up to its responsibilities to retirees we will not be able to make real progress,” the Solidarity Alert read.
“It’s time that Goodyear came to its senses, agrees to meet its obligations, rids our communities of the human scum they’ve brought in to do our jobs and works with us to negotiate an honorable settlement,” the posting continued.
Meanwhile, on Nov. 14, the USW and the AFL-CIO called for a “nationwide day of action against Goodyear” to “to protest Goodyear’s assault on the economic security and basic rights of working families and Steelworker members.”
The AFL-CIO agreed to: “discredit Goodyear’s abandonment of American manufacturing, workers, retirees and their communities; join with Steelworker members on informational actions at stores selling Goodyear products; condemn Goodyear’s assault on the health security of its workers and retirees as destructive to organized labour’s ongoing efforts to win accessible and affordable health care for all; and encourage employers with whom affiliates have contracts, both private and public, to abandon the use of Goodyear tires as original or fleet equipment, until such time as Goodyear relents in its unconscionable demands and shameless hypocrisy and reaches a reasonable and equitable agreement with the United Steelworkers.”