Contracts at Kelly plants expire

July 7, 2003

Labor contracts at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s three Kelly plants officially expired yesterday, nine days after talks between Goodyear and the United Steelworkers of America (USWA) ended.

The Fayetteville, N.C.; Freeport, Ill.; and Tyler, Texas, Kelly plants manufacture a total of 123,000 tires a day at full capacity, according to Modern Tire Dealer statistics.

Contracts at 11 Goodyear factories throughout North American expired in April.

Company and union officials had hoped to reach a tentative labor agreements by June 27 but a deal never materialized.

A USWA spokesman told that Goodyear "refused to make any real commitment to job security at the plants" and had wanted to "slash" health care benefits for current employees and pensioners.

He also says that union officials have "made preparations for a strike," though other options are available.

Goodyear officials describe stalled talks as "a break," not an impasse.

"From our perspective, it's just a matter of getting together and closing the gap from where we were at on (June 27)," says a Goodyear spokesman.

No further negotiations have been scheduled.