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Steelworkers set June 27 deadline for tentative agreement

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"A lot of different actions" are available to Steelworkers at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s North American plants if a tentative agreement is not reached by June 27, according to a United Steelworkers of America (USWA) spokesman -- including going on strike.

The spokesman would not detail other options but told mtdealer.com that "the status of negotiations" will determine what happens.

Unionized Goodyear workers have been working on a day-to-day contract since April while representatives from both parties continue to negotiate in Cincinnati.

Several weeks ago, the USWA rejected a Goodyear proposal that asked for pension and benefits concessions.

"Their approach isn't working," says the USWA spokesman, who adds that union officials have "introduced ways and methods to work with (Goodyear) to contain health care costs.

"We're looking for a plan that gets the company back on its feet" but not at the expense of factory workers.

Goodyear's management staff "has excessive layers, from the shop floor to the top reaches" that the union says it should pare down, according to the spokesman.

Contracts at 11 Goodyear plants have expired and contracts at three of the company's Kelly plants are set to expire early next month.

The USWA is using Goodyear as a "template" for negotiations with other tiremakers like Bridgestone Americas Holding Inc. and Michelin North America Inc.

The Akron, Ohio-based manufacturer is the largest employer of USWA members.

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