USW gives its interpretation of yesterday's negotiations

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The most recent "Solidarity Alert" from the Goodyear-Kelly-Dunlop Bargaining Committee of North America, sent out late in the day on Nov. 14, updates its striking members on the negotiations between the union (USW) and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

The following "bargaining update" is reprinted in its entirety in order to report the union's point of view on both the negotiations and Goodyear itself to readers.

"Today your Policy Committee reconvened in Cincinnati and met with Goodyear in a good faith effort to bring an end to our strike.

"While there are numerous unresolved issues, we began today by informing the company that their insistence on a VEBA (retiree healthcare) trust, whereby they would completely wash their hands of their legal and moral obligation to current and future retirees was an immoral and unworkable solution to this issue.

"The $660 million that the company proposed to contribute to this VEBA represents approximately half of their obligation on this issue. 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?

"The union then made a counterproposal where the company would meet its obligation and active workers would contribute some degree of future profit sharing and COLA. Thus, we help both the current and future retirees meet their premiums and you would have decent, affordable healthcare when you finally do decide to retire.

"Gaining plant security for all locals continues to be a priority. 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.

"Despite comments by management to the contrary and despite repeated requests by the union, Goodyear has still failed to provide the Canadian locals with a new proposal.

"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 company should not underestimate the unity of the USW across the U.S. and Canada and our determination to make Goodyear 'do the right thing' in spite of themselves.

"We will keep you posted as events continue to unfold.

"Your U.S. and Canadian Policy Committee.

"Only through our solidarity will we win a fair and equitable contract with Goodyear!"

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