Friday, December 29, 2006

Thanks to USW-Goodyear Strike Supporter


MEMORANDUM

TO: USW-Goodyear Striker Supporter
FR: Leo W. Gerard, International President
DATE: December 22, 2006
RE: Goodyear

On behalf of 15,000 brave workers who courageously battled to last one day longer that the company, their families and more than 30,000 Goodyear retirees and surviving spouses, allow me to thank everybody who contributed to this victory.

We thank the entire labor movement, activist communities and progressive groups from all over North America for its unprecedented solidarity and acknowledge the efforts of fair-minded representatives of the media and financial communities, who took the time to understand the critical issues in this conflict.

As we said from the beginning, this contract campaign went far beyond a labormanagement
dispute. It was a battle to make a company live up to its commitments to past and current employees, and to secure a future for manufacturing in North America.

The support we received from the communities where our plants are located was extraordinary and included efforts by church and community groups as well as public officials, ordinary citizens and local businesses.

We are happy to provide you with some of the highlights from the Tentative Agreement that our bargaining reached with their counterparts at Goodyear Tire and Rubber late today. While no settlement is ever perfect, we all deserve congratulations in successfully working together to resolve the critical issues that confronted us when the bargaining process began.

Thank you again.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Tentative Agreement with Goodyear

USW, Goodyear Reach Tentative Agreement

For Immediate Release December 22, 2006

(Pittsburgh, PA) -- The United Steelworkers (USW) and the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company today reached tentative agreement on a new three year contract that the union said “secures retiree health care benefits and dramatically increases Goodyear’s investments in union facilities.”

“This agreement validates the solidarity of our members and their families, who wouldn’t allow the company to walk away from obligations earned through a lifetime of hard work and loyalty,” said USW President Leo W. Gerard.

“We owe a debt of gratitude,” he added, “to the entire labor and activist communities, which rose with unprecedented solidarity to challenge Goodyear’s assault on our members.”

“By securing solid medical and drug benefits for current members and retirees in the midst of today’s health care crisis,” said Thomas Conway, USW Vice President and the Chair of the union’s Goodyear negotiations, “our bargaining committee was able to drive the proverbial wolf away from the door for tens of thousands of retirees and thousands more workers who are nearing retirement.”

The Tentative Agreement was endorsed by the USW’s Goodyear Policy Committee, made up of local union leaders from the company’s master contract facilities throughout the U.S. Members at these locations will vote at ratification meetings in their communities on December 28.

Although details of the tentative agreement will not be released until USW members at Goodyear have voted in a ratification election scheduled for next week, the union said that the agreement addresses three crucial areas of concern by:

Establishing an innovative company-financed trust of more than $1 billion that will secure medical and prescription drug benefits for current and future retirees;
Enhancing the ability of USW-represented plants to meet the challenges of global competition by having Goodyear triple its capital investments to at least $550 million in those plants; and,
Maintaining affordable, high quality medical and prescription drug coverage for active members and retirees.
In addition, the tentative agreement requires Goodyear to rescind its demand for immediate closure of its Tyler, Texas plant, and instead provides for a one-year period of transition during which workers will have the opportunity to take advantage of sizeable retirement buyouts.

The Tyler plant came out of the 2003 negotiation as the one unprotected facility, but despite determined efforts by international and local union leaders and strong support from the community, plant security could not be won beyond the end of 2007.

“Though we’re not entirely happy with the outcome at Tyler,” Conway said, “we were able to ensure that as long as Goodyear stays in the market for the tires built at Tyler, those tires will have to be produced at USW-represented plants in the U.S. The company simply won’t be able to outsource that work or service this market segment with imports from China or anywhere other than a USW facility.”

“What we achieved would never have been possible if we hadn’t struck.” said Ron Hoover, USW Executive Vice President

Negotiations between the USW and Goodyear began in June of this year. With a contract expiration date of July 22, 2006 approaching, a day-to-day extension agreement was reached that gave both parties the option of terminating the agreement upon delivering 72-hour notice. Lack of progress in bargaining talks forced the USW to delivered notice on October 2 and 15,000 USW members in 16 plants throughout North America struck on October 5.

The ratification vote will be taken following informational meetings at each location. A majority of the majority principle applies meaning that a majority of the locals as well as a majority of the overall membership must vote to accept the Tentative Agreement as the new contract.

The USW represents more than 850,000 members in the U.S. and Canada. Some 70,000 are employed in the tire, rubber and plastics industry.

CONTACT: Wayne Ranick (412) 562-2444

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Grinch of the Year


With 52% of more than 10,000 votes cast, Goodyear won the 6th annual online "Grinch of the Year" election sponsored by National Jobs with Justice. Nominated by the United Steelworkers, the company is criticized for forcing 15,000 US workers out on strike on October 5th. Despite concessions given by workers in the last round of contract negotiations that led to a billion dollar turn-around, Goodyear wants to close plants, off-shore jobs, and gut retiree health insurance.

"Goodyear truly is the Grinch Who Stole Christmas from working families this year" said Fred Azcarate, Executive Director of National Jobs with Justice. "15,000 families have been living on strike pay and their savings for almost three months, and their health benefits are set to expire on January 2nd."

Smithfield Tar Heel Division Chairman Joseph Luter III came in second place with 39% of the vote. Smithfield was nominated by the UFCW for paying workers poverty wages, failing to provide adequate medical care to injured workers, and suppressing workers' right to organize a union. The additional 9% of votes went to write in candidates. The most popular write-in candidates were Wal-Mart (winner of the 2005 and 2004 Grinch elections), the Bush administration (2003's Grinch winner), McDonalds, and Starbucks.

The 'Grinch of the Year' awards began locally with Jobs with Justice Coalitions around the country highlighting the greedy grinch in their hometowns. That tradition has remained in many areas with the Valley Park Board of Alderman winning the St. Louis Area Grinch of the Year Award for their anti-immigrant ordinance and Tacoma Macy's Vice President winning the Pierce County, WA Grinch award for promoting credit-card debt, failing to raise most workers' wages for 3 years, shifting health care costs to workers, and yelling at workers for excercising their legal right to organize a union.

Jobs with Justice is a national campaign for workers' rights. Around the country, local Jobs with Justice Coalitions unite labor, community, faith-based, and student organizations to build power for working people.

Source: JWJ

Monday, December 18, 2006

Save The Date!

SAVE THE DATE

FRIDAY, JAN. 19, 2007
AKRON, OH
1:30 P.M.


(specific location, transportation and other arrangements to be announced soon)

USW members on strike at
GOODYEAR TIRE AND RUBBER
will be joined by their
BROTHERS AND SISTERS,
RETIREES AND ALLIES

to bring to Goodyear’s Corporate Headquarters
our fight for
JOBS . . . STRONG COMMUNITIES . . . DECENT HEALTHCARE

For more information,
check the USW website at:
www.usw.org/goodyear


Friday, December 15, 2006

Goodyear Screws U.S. Troops

Production Shortage Affects Military Shipments

Goodyear rebuffs influential congressman

Overview

Although Goodyear continues to claim that it is meeting the military’s production needs, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.), Chairman of the House Armed Services Committee tells the company that with production levels reduced there is a shortage within the military.

Production Levels Reduced By 35%

Yesterday, Rep. Hunter announced a significant shortage of tires for Humvees, the workhorse vehicle in Iraq and Afghanistan. He requested the return to work of 200 skilled union workers in Topeka, Kansas to fulfill military needs that current replacement workers cannot meet.

Goodyear Has Repeatedly Refused USW Offers To Insure Military Supply

The USW has made numerous offers since the beginning of October to work with the company to ensure that the supply requirements of the military are met. Since Hunter’s call for a solution yesterday, the USW has twice offered a solution to the shortage. Not only has Goodyear rejected all USW offers, it has also called into question the veracity of the Chair of the House Armed Services Committee.

Goodyear Risks Ruining Its Relationship With The US Government

Beyond the obvious public relations nightmare created by Goodyear’s abandonment of our service members fighting overseas, Goodyear risks losing the United States government as a future customer by denying production problems and undermining its credibility with elected officials.

For more information on this and other investor concerns, please visit: www.goodyearalert.org

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Goodyear Screwing its Investors

Goodyear management provoked a labor dispute with the United Steelworkers by demanding tire building be done by workers making only 42 cents per hour.
Goodyear will not win this fight because the American people won't allow it.
In the meantime, investors will lose their shirts.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Sweatshop Man of the Year? We'll see.


Dr. Martin C. Jischke became Purdue University's 10th president in August 2000. A Chicago native, he received his bachelor's degree in physics with honors from the Illinois Institute of Technology, and earned his master's and doctoral degrees in aeronautics and astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. A very smart man, no doubt. An educated man at least.
I wonder if he's smart enough to know what's best for his country.

As I understand it, Purdue University students are on a hunger strike while this guy says he needs more time to figure out whether or not to continue to purchase Purdue apparel items which are produced in sweatshop factories.

I hope he makes the right dicision. If not, I hope everyone boycotts Purdue.

Goodyear Investor Alert #6

Yes, We Have No Tires

Strike Impact on Goodyear Customers Grows

  • Overview

Since the beginning of the strike Goodyear has been telling its customers and shareholders that it will be able to continue to serve its customers. The Union has cautioned investors that Goodyear’s pre-strike reserves would soon run out and that the Company would lose business and important customers. Public comments by tire dealers can settle this debate.

  • Tight Market Even Tighter
According to an article in Modern Tire Dealer this week, in order to get tires, dealers have to “say some prayers and pull some teeth,” and the tires that they are getting are ones that were sitting in the warehouse from before the strike. Goodyear’s largest OTR customer, Purcell Tire & Rubber Co. has not received a shipment from Goodyear since the strike began. Another customer has had to substitute Goodyear tires with another brand.

  • Market Share Will Slip
Dealers selling consumer replacement tires have not fared much better. Reports of shortages started almost immediately after the strike began.

On November 22, Kevin Tynan of Argus Research Group told the Fort Wayne Journal that it is unlikely that Goodyear will be able to get to the production level they need to meet demand. “In the near term, if the supply is not there, people will not wait.”

Les Garland, owner of Garland Brothers Tire & Alignment, said in late November that the word “shortage” would be a drastic understatement. “I’m having to bring in other lines just to sell tires. You can not sell from an empty wagon, and the Goodyear-Kelly wagon is empty.”

November was not a great month for Mark White of Discount Tire either, but he anticipates the real problems will start in January and February, when inventories will become depleted. White said that he will recommend other brands when Goodyear tires run out.

  • A “Little Bit Of A Shortage”
In November Ed Markey, Goodyear’s spokesman, admitted “In certain sizes and types of tires, there is a little bit of a shortage…” We could quibble about the meaning of the word little, but it is the first shred of truth we have heard from the company about the issue. Some of the states that have contracts with Goodyear got a little bit of truth from the company in October, when Goodyear notified them that as a result of the strike it was invoking the “force majeure” clause of its contracts to supply them with tires. Goodyear did not offer details as to when curtailment would begin, but the letter tells a different story than the one the company tells publicly.

  • Word From The Street
Two days ago, Analyst Rod Lache from Deutsche Bank upgraded Cooper Tire & Rubber stock from Hold to Buy. According to Lache: “The Goodyear strike, now entering its 8th week, has also begun to translate into a near term boost to volume.” We take this to mean that Cooper is selling to Goodyear’s customers, and investors seem to agree – Cooper stock has climbed
almost 50% since the strike began.

All of this confirms what reports from the picket line and good common sense tells us must be true: you can not build tires when your tire-builders are standing at the front gate of the plant.
Goodyear may have tires that we do not know about, but unfortunately for Goodyear, their dealers do not seem to know about them either. For more information on this and other investor concerns, please visit:

www.usw.org/goodyearalert