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Goodyear's bargaining team returns to Cincinnati, union responds

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.’s negotiating team has returned to Cincinnati, Ohio, in hopes to continue labor negotiations with the United Steelworkers.

"Goodyear remains willing and prepared to resume formal bargaining with the United Steelworkers at any time," said Bill Cook, Goodyear's vice president of human resources, North American Tire.

A letter also was mailed to all striking Goodyear Steelworkers in the U.S. from Cook and Bruce Kendrick, human resources, Engineered Products, detailing the company's proposals and containing a summary of the offer Goodyear made to the USW on Oct. 27.

"We are writing to you at this critical time because you are entitled to know the full facts about the proposals we have made to the United Steelworkers," the letter says.

The company notes its package of proposals would:

* preserve the current wage structure of every active associate in every circumstance, including those on layoff for less than two years;

* provide wage increases for some associates;

* continue 100% COLA for all current employees;

* maintain or improve employees' current benefits package;

* restore service credit to current associates for the two-year pension freeze;

* protect all USW master agreement plants except Tyler;

* share profits on an ongoing basis;

* maintain the current Supplemental Unemployment Benefits program;

* maintain the current Supplemental Workers Compensation program, and;

* except in Gadsden, continue all current incentive programs on all incentive jobs for all current employees who are currently on incentive jobs.

The letter tells USW member associates, "Although the union has rejected our offer, you should have the facts to decide for yourself whether to continue supporting the strike. Hopefully, you will be afforded an opportunity to vote yes or no on our offer."

"Successful negotiations require compromise... on both sides," the letter adds. "As you can see, Goodyear has compromised. We are ready to resume negotiations with the USW at any time with no pre-conditions. As a show of good faith, Goodyear's bargainers are returning to Cincinnati with the hope that your union's bargainers will do likewise and resume bargaining."

"We stand ready to bargain a fair labor agreement, as we always have, and assume by this announcement that the company has abandoned its destructive position on closing plants and slashing health care," says USW International Vice President Tom Conway.

"We look forward to productive discussions whereby our members can return to making quality products and sincerely hope that is is a good faith attempt by Goodyear to solve problems and not place further obstructions in the path to reaching a fair and equitable agreement," adds USW International Presidet Leo Girard.

For the full letter, see the company's Web site www.goodyearnegotiations.com.

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