'Creative solutions' will shape new labor contract, says Goodyear

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Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. will start negotiating a new labor contract with the United Steelworkers this summer. "We have to find a contract that will allow us to improve our global competitiveness and at the same time be fair to our associates, present and past," says Jon Rich, president of Goodyear's North American Tire unit.

"We are facing many of the same things they're talking about at General Motors, Ford and other places. To the extent that we can find creative solutions, I'm optimistic" that an equitable contract can be forged.

"We are going to do everything we can possibly do to put customers first, and that's something I think all sides understand. At the end of the day it's about winning with customers; that's the only kind of security there is -- for employees, managers and investors."

Goodyear's current contract with the union expires in July.

Labor contracts with Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire LLC, Continental Tire North America Inc. and Michelin North America Inc. also expire this year.

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