Back to Business at Goodyear
With the USW strike now just an unpleasant memory for Goodyear, the tyremaker is boosting production to make up for any shortfalls in supply. The eleven week strike, which affected approximately 15,000 workers across North America, came to an end on December 22 after an agreement was reached between Goodyear and the United Steelworkers union. Workers began returning to work on January 2.
Goodyear has planned for a full supply of tyres to become available soon after the return of their hourly workers, with Jon Rich, president of Goodyear’s North American tyre unit stating “I have no doubt our associates will quickly return to their normal high levels of performance and productivity.”
The company looks set to save up to US$610 million (£310 million) in costs throughout the duration of the three-year master agreement covering 12 US tyre and engineered product plants. As part of this agreement, the closure of Goodyear’s Tyler plant in Texas, a core USW grievance, has been delayed by several months until at least the end of 2007. A trust fund, to which Goodyear has agreed to contribute at least US$1 billion, has been established in order to resolve USW retiree healthcare liabilities.
Under the terms of the agreement Goodyear are also permitted to pay lower wages and benefits to new employees, while some profit sharing arrangements and a measure of capital investment in North American plants is expected from the company.