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Goodyear/USWA resolve dispute over Assurance production

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The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) have resolved their dispute regarding the production of the company's new Assurance tire line.

Goodyear had planned to produce the tires at its Lawton, Okla., facility -- the company's only non-union plant in the U.S. The USWA contended that the job security provisions of the new contract called for producing the tires in union facilities.

Goodyear has now committed to manufacturing a significant portion of Assurance tires at USWA facilities, the union said.

Goodyear released this statement:

"Outstanding customer response to the introduction of Goodyear's new Assurance line of tires will result in expanded production as quickly as possible at Goodyear’s Gadsden, Ala., manufacturing plant.

"'Gadsden was always in our plans as a facility to build the Assurance with ComforTred Technology tires,' said Brant Schnackenberg, vice president of manufacturing for Goodyear's North American Tire business. 'It's part of

our overall sourcing strategy for meeting the demand for Assurance.'

"The Assurance with TripleTred and ComforTred Technology will continue to be manufactured in Lawton, Okla., with the potential of adding TripleTred production to Napanee, Ontario, Canada (where the company's non-union plant in Canada is located), if demand requires. Lawton and Napanee have unique equipment capabilities to handle the cutting-edge technologies that comprise the Assurance TripleTred products.

"'We're pleased with the groundbreaking agreement that was reached with the

USWA in September of 2003,' Schnackenberg said. 'Goodyear sourcing decisions on Assurance are consistent with our current labor agreement, and we continue to have productive, ongoing discussions with the USWA to

implement provisions of the contract that will further improve Goodyear's competitiveness.'"

The union added "the parties agreed to develop a protocol for providing the union with ongoing information regarding the development of new products to minimize the possibility for future disputes. In addition, Goodyear indicated to the union that one million additional tires would be produced in USWA plants based on increased demand."

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