Union blasts Goodyear proposal, fires back with its own

Sept. 18, 2006

The United Steelworkers is calling Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s contract proposal package, which was sent last week, "totally unacceptable."

Highlights of Goodyear's proposal, which was presented on Sept. 13, include:

* plant protection similar to Michelin's agreement for all but two Goodyear master plants, including guarantees of no layoffs below a fixed number at protected facilities;

* pay increases for approximately 31% of Goodyear's workforce, as of July 2009;

* pay protection for current workers through July 2009, unless they move to a lower job grade;

* continued Cost of Living Allowance (COLA), distributed as a percentage based on pay rates;

* establishment of a "support unit;"

* revised piece work incentives;

* an "exit incentive" for up to 10% of the active population;

* pension increases with length of service;

* life insurance improvements for active employees;

* plant investment guarantees;

* a plan to protect competitive retiree medical benefits;

* reduce vacations for new hires;

* active health care changes.

The union presented proposal packages to Goodyear on Sept. 14. Among its proposals:

* continuation of COLA;

* eliminating "the 70% new hire progression rate and returning to pre-1997 hire in rate and progression;"

* enhancing hourly employee profit sharing program;

* paying out to hourly employes group bonuses "equal" to that paid to upper management;

* maintaining Supplemental Workers Compensation;

* recovering the 2003 two-year pension freeze;

* increasing the pension multiplier and the existing formula;

* increasing basic life insurance coverage;

* increasing accident and sickness benefits;

* maintaining Medicare Part B reimbursement for retirees;

* upgrading medical benefits for active employees and retirees;

* keeping contingent workers "out of our plants;"

* securing "meaningful capital investment guarantees for our plants;"

* enhancing the existing employee savings program (401K) and adding a 401(k) Roth;

* keeping plant protection guarantees for all of our plants;

* improving hourly employee staffing level guarantees;

* strengthening outside contracting protection.

"We again told the company that if no progress occurs, negotiations will not continue," say union officials.