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Frequently Asked Questions

Below are responses to some of the most Frequently Asked Questions received through the "Ask a Question" feature.
Check back regularly, as this list will continue to be updated with additional questions and answers.

If you would like to submit a question, click here.

Bidding

Q1: Why does the Goodyear/USW master labor agreement limit how soon I can bid off one job to another? (May 28, 2013)

A1: Job bidding policies are very common at all employers, both inside and outside the tire/rubber industry. These types of policies are intended to protect the investment made in training employees on a new job.
During negotiations, Goodyear and the USW will be discussing all labor movement rules and processes, including those on job bidding. These rules and processes must provide Goodyear with the flexibility to react to the demands of the marketplace, the opportunity to realize a fair return on the training it invests into employees, and the ability to motivate and retain its workforce with work practices that allow them to grow and thrive along with Goodyear.

Negotiating Team

Q2: What is a tentative agreement?

A2: A tentative agreement is the agreement that is reached by Goodyear and United Steelworkers negotiating representatives, prior to the ratification or final approval by the union membership.

Q3: Who are the chief negotiators for the USW and Goodyear? (May 28, 2013)

A3: Goodyear – Vice President Global Labor Relations, USW – International Vice President Administration

Q4. Who are the members of Goodyear’s negotiating team? (April 19, 2013)

A4. Goodyear’s negotiating team is made up of the following:

Vice President of Global Labor Relations – Chief Spokesperson for the Company
Director of Human Resources, North America Manufacturing
Director of Compensation & Benefits
Manager of Corporate Labor Relations
Manager of Human Resources-Consumer, North America Manufacturing
Manager of Human Resources-Commercial, North America Manufacturing
Manager of Benefits Policy & Planning
Manager of Health & Welfare Benefits
Manager of Finance, Associate Benefits, Insurance & Investment
Finance Manager - NA Investment Analysis
Labor & Employment Attorney
Manager of Human Resources, Gadsden, Ala., plant
Manager of Human Resources, Fayetteville, N.C., plant
Manager of Human Resources, Topeka, Kan., plant
Manager of Human Resources, Buffalo, N.Y, plant
Manager of Human Resources, Akron, Ohio, plant
Manager of Human Resources, Danville, Va., plant
Communications Lead, North American Tire Manufacturing
Labor Relations Administrator, Akron, Ohio

Pension

Q5: Do the current employees have the option, or will they ever have the option, to sell their pension to Goodyear on an individual basis? (posted July 25, 2013)

A5: Production employees hired before 2007 and maintenance employees hired before August 2009 receive a DB pension benefit. Under the current agreement, these employees may take their pension as an annuity only, and not a lump sum. The DB pension is a topic of discussion during these negotiations, however; the final details of the proposal are yet to be determined.

Q6: Is the current Defined Benefit pension plan scheduled to be phased out and will a payment of $8000 per year of service be given to employees? (July 17, 2013)

A6: The current defined benefit pension plan is a topic of discussion during these negotiations but no details have been finalized. While Goodyear will not be responding to every rumor or speculation about specific proposals, this one has no basis in fact.

Q7: Is Goodyear considering moving employees on the hourly pension plan to a 401K? (June 21, 2013)

A7: As in prior negotiations, the subject of the hourly pension plan is under discussion and information is being shared about pension funding rules and legislation—and their impact on Goodyear. Under review and being discussed are several different proposals and ideas that would offer employees a fair retirement benefit, while allowing Goodyear to create long-term sustainable value and profitability through all economic cycles.

Plant Operations

Q8: Are there any talks about continuous operations going back to eight hour shifts? (posted July 22, 2013)

A8: Not at this time.

Q9: Will attendance and work performance standards become stricter? (July 17, 2013)

A9: Productivity and attendance—and ways to improve them—are important to both sides and will be topics of discussion during negotiations. Of course, work standards can change over time based on a number of factors, like machine efficiency and improved processes, consistent with accepted industrial engineering techniques.

Q10: As part of the 2006 and 2009 master contract, Goodyear and the USW agreed to unprotect two plants that resulted in the Tyler, TX and Union City, TN tire plants being closed – is there talk of unprotecting or closing another plant as part of this year’s negotiations? (June 11, 2013)

A10: No. The parties are not discussing unprotecting or closing another plant, at this time, as part of these negotiations.

Q11: Is it true Goodyear would like the USW to strike for 3 months so the Company can reduce inventories and bring in contractors to perform work at its facilities? (June 11, 2013)

A11: No. Negotiations have just begun and Goodyear is negotiating in good faith to reach an agreement with the USW. Goodyear would like to achieve a mutually beneficial labor contract that supports the needs of the business and our associates while allowing for continued profitability and future growth in North America.

Proposals

Q12: In your best estimate, will an agreement be met before the July 27 deadline; therefore avoiding a strike? (posted July 25, 2013)

A12: Goodyear’s intent is to reach a mutually beneficial agreement with the United Steelworkers by the July 27 deadline avoiding the possibility of a work stoppage. A strike or a lock-out has negative implications for both parties and should be the last resort when negotiating a contract settlement.

Q13: You state you are working on an agreement that is beneficial to the associates and increase the profitability of Goodyear, what has Goodyear conceded to in the last three contracts? (posted July 25, 2013)

A13: As stated in another FAQ, negotiations involve give and take on both sides. Based on recent bargains, Goodyear has provided workers with, among other things; protection from plant closure; guaranteed employment levels; guaranteed capital expenditure dollars; a new Plant Wide Bonus Plan where everyone in the Plant can earn an additional 10% of their earnings; millions of dollars in profit sharing and financial support to USW Institute for Career Development (ICD) centers; benefits on par or better than those offered by other large employers in the communities in which we operate; and COLA wage increases to all associates not paid significantly over market rates. All this was negotiated while Goodyear was working through significant financial obstacles during a challenging economic environment. Goodyear recognizes the value of our production and maintenance associates and continues to work toward an agreement that is beneficial to both sides while positioning Goodyear to continue to grow and succeed in the marketplace.

Q14: Salary personnel at our plant are telling hourly associates that we are going to strike on July 27 to perform maintenance. The exact words are “don’t plan to work in August,” any truth to this? (posted July 25, 2013)

A14: Goodyear is bargaining in good faith to reach an agreement that is beneficial to both parties and allows Goodyear to remain competitive in North America. That is the objective.

Q15: How far apart are the two parties? (posted July 22, 2013)

A15: Negotiations is a process, and talks are proceeding as expected. It is always difficult to say how "far apart" negotiations are at any point in time. There are several items of interest on the table to both sides. Goodyear remains committed to working with the United Steelworkers to come to an agreement that is beneficial for both parties.

Q16: Why must we give back every contract when the company is profitable, i.e., record sales last year in the history of Goodyear? (posted July 22, 2013)

A16: Negotiations involve give and take on both sides. In recent contract negotiations, Goodyear North America was not profitable. Over these years, steps have been taken in all areas of the business, including the USW contract, to address and improve NA’s profitability—which benefits everyone at Goodyear. NA was profitable in 2012, but much work remains to reach Our Destination of Creating Sustainable Value and Profitability Through All Economic Cycles.

Q17: What are the main proposals on the table for Goodyear and the USW? (July 17, 2013)

A17: The negotiations process includes the exchange of proposals submitted by the Company and by the Union on many topics concerning the terms and conditions of employment. Main topics include wages, profit sharing, plant protection, vacation, standards, and other miscellaneous Collective Bargaining Agreement items; the Supplemental Unemployment Benefits Agreement; and, with respect to the Pension & Insurance Agreement, pensions, medical insurance, prescription costs, and miscellaneous benefits.

Q18: A recent news account states in-person negotiations will resume in early June, in the meantime, are proposals being submitted and exchanged between Goodyear & the USW? (May 28, 2013)

A18: Additional proposals will not be exchanged until negotiations resume in early June.

Wages

Q19: Why are all the offers, benefits, and issues all about the grandfathered employees? It doesn’t seem like anything is being offered or asked for, on behalf of new hires. (posted July 25, 2013)

A19: The recent Solidarity Alerts issued by the United Steelworkers Policy Committee, which have focused on wages for grandfathered employees, only tell part of the story in terms of wage improvements and protections the Company is offering. Both the Union and the Company are discussing issues concerning grandfathered and non-grandfathered associates.

Q20: Is the USW planning on negotiating away any raise for maintenance personnel? (posted July 22, 2013)

A20: Obviously, Goodyear cannot speak on behalf of the USW. Wages for employees on Grade Wage Rates and Grandfathered Rates, on all six grades, are a topic of discussion during these negotiations.

Q21: Why does Goodyear pay its production associates more than its technical maintenance associates? (July 17, 2013)

A21: Except in very limited and unique circumstances, this is not true: technical maintenance associates have a higher hourly wage rate than production associates. If there is a question or concern at a specific plant or in a specific department on this issue, please speak with your Plant manager or Human Resources manager.

Q22: Will the new agreement end the wage disparity between employees who remain on a “grandfathered” wage and those hired after 2006 on the new Grade Wage Rate? (June 21, 2013)

A22: Wages, including those paid to employees who remain “grandfathered” on the prior wage structure, are an important topic being discussed at these negotiations. To attract and retain the best talent, the wage/benefit package offered to employees must fairly compensate them for the work they perform, while at the same time allowing Goodyear’s North American business unit to continue its return to profitability in a competitive and volatile marketplace.

Q23: Will a proposal be made to raise the pay of skilled trade labor? (May 28, 2013)

A23: The wages paid to all USW bargaining unit workers will be a topic of discussion during upcoming negotiations. The overall wage/benefit package must allow the master plants to be competitive and also permit Goodyear’s North America business unit to continue its recent return to profitability, while at the same time helping the master plants attract and retain top talent and teams.

Website

Q24: How do you determine the frequency and content for posts on this site? (June 21 ,2013)

A24: Updates are posted when determined to be of value to the larger audience accessing this website. Updates addressing an issue or question that is unique to one person or a small group are generally not provided. During negotiations, the frequency and content of updates will vary. Frequency will depend on whether significant changes have occurred at the stage of negotiations, and the nature of the subject matter under discussion at that time. Although general updates may not be posted frequently, the FAQs portion of the website receives updates as answers are provided to questions submitted from the public.

This site is designed to provide news and information about the labor negotiations between Goodyear and the United Steelworkers. Every effort has been made to ensure that the information is accurate as of the date posted or, if earlier, the date of the information. While we may elect to update information at some point in time, we disclaim any obligation to do so. Since negotiations are ongoing, ultimately the final terms of the ratified labor agreement and the official pay and benefit programs will control.