Steelworkers go on strike at Goodyear plants

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The United Steelworkers have decided to go on strike at 16 Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. plants in the United States and Canada. "The company left us with no option," says USW Executive Vice President Ron Hoover.

"We cannot allow additional plant closures after the sacrifices we made three years ago to help this company survive."

Goodyear officials countered by saying that the union rejected a proposal from the company "that would improve (the tiremaker's) competitive position while maintaining substantial commitment to manufacturing in North America."

"We simply cannot accept a contract that knowingly creates a competitive disadvantage versus our foreign-owned competition and increases our cost disadvantage versus imports," says Jim Allen, Goodyear's chief negotiator.

The union delivered the required 72-hour notice to terminate its day-to-day contract with Goodyear earlier this week. The strike will impact some 15,000 unionized Goodyear plant workers, including those at the following U.S. plants:

* Goodyear North American Tire: Akron, Ohio; Buffalo, N.Y.; Danville, Va.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Gadsden, Ala.; Topeka, Kan.; Tyler, Texas; and Union City, Tenn.

* Goodyear Engineered Products: Lincoln, Neb.; Marysville, Ohio; St. Marys, Ohio; and Sun Prairie, Wis.

"We remain willing to continue to bargain with the Steelworkers," says Allen. "In the meantime, we have implemented our strike contingency plans at the affected facilities and are working to minimize impact on our customers."

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