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Published: November 16, 2006 01:03 pm

Dunlop workers look for answers

Goodyear and United Steelworkers go back to the bargaining table

BY CORTNEY MCMAHON
The Tonawanda News

The Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and the United Steelworkers entered formal negotiations Tuesday for the first time in more than a month.

The negotiations followed last week’s news that the tire company reported a $48 million loss for the third quarter.

As of Wednesday, no compromises had been made, said Kathy Kluczynski, vice president of Local 135, the area Steelworkers union chapter.

There has not been much information released on the negotiations during the past two days, said Wayne Ranick, spokesman for United Steelworkers.

“I have no idea as to the substance or dialogue of the negotiations,” Ranick said.

During Tuesday’s negotiations, union representatives informed Goodyear that United Steelworkers will not compromise on cutting benefits of current or future retirees and insisted on plant security for all locals, according to a statement released by the union.

“The company should not underestimate the unity of (United Steelworkers) across the U.S. and Canada,” the statement said.

Goodyear has nothing to report at this time, said Ed Markey, spokesman for the company.

The Steelworkers declared a strike against the Goodyear on Oct. 5. Workers in 16 plants in North America, including 15,000 Steelworkers union members, are participating in the strike.

Since the strike began, Goodyear has brought in temporary workers to fill some of the vacant positions at its plants across the nation. Goodyear also announced on Oct. 30 plans to close its facility in Tyler, Texas, eliminating 1,100 jobs.

The Goodyear-Dunlop plant in the Town of Tonawanda has over 100 temporary workers, Kluczynski said. Tuesday’s statement referred to these workers as “human scum.”

Local union members on strike are anxious to get back to work, but only under the right circumstances, Kluczynski said.

“I think a lot of people are just waiting to see what is going to happen,” Kluczynski said.
 

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Yep, Unions, It will just raise the cost of products again, Never ending :cry:

JMHO 8)
 

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Unions were a good thing, in their beginning. They were primarily for the coal miners that had a short life span because of their working environment. Things got better and then they got worse.

I had a great union job. I felt like I was adopted! Unfortunately, my employer didn't have the paternal feeling towards me. Too many a-hole supervisors. Customers loved me, but they didn't sign my paychecks.

Then I found a new job. My world improved. The union is weak, really weak! The supervisors are idiots. But the best part is that I don't have to deal with customer satisfaction. I just have to do well enough to keep my supervisors "okay" with my performance. I have to constantly pull back to keep from doing better. Sometimes I loose control, but I am copeing with it.

I digress. Sorry. :oops:
 

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There are only about 3 choices for Goodyear: 1. break the union and don't even bother calling them back. 2. Suck up to the union and give into what they are demanding and then file bankruptcy within 6 months. Which will bring us back to #1. 3. Close up shop in the USA and move everything to China. None of the choices are good for the union workers but the company isn't going to just close up within a few years by giving into the union.
 

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When I read about these strikes, and lay offs, 1 big thing seems to be standing in the way. (besides pay cuts/increases) Health care

The rising costs of health care has caused change in cost for every employer whether it's union, or non-union. Adjustments have to be made. To stand there and tell company owners no, I won't pay any more for health care, or take a pay cut to adjust for it is careerer suicide. Has any one followed the AK Steel story?

Now, I just read of a different story. One some of you guys won't like because of the company, but if you can look past that I think you will see how these things are possible without putting the company out of business, or locking out your job.

Harley union members approve deal
Company will expand here with two-tier wages
By AVRUM D. LANK
[email protected]
Posted: Nov. 14, 2006
West Allis - Union workers at Harley-Davidson Inc. Tuesday approved concessions that will result in a $120 million expansion and creation of at least 100 new jobs in the Milwaukee area.

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The 943 to 536 vote came after a sustained campaign by union leadership to reverse a rejection of similar concessions last month.

The proposal that won approval includes lower wages for workers hired after the first of the year, as well as a decrease in health insurance, pensions and cost-of-living adjustments for all workers. However, the gap between the two wage tiers is smaller in the deal agreed to Tuesday than in the one rejected in October.

"This was a hugely emotional issue for the membership," Jim Wheiland, president of the union, Local 2-209 of the United Steelworkers, said after the vote was announced at the group's headquarters.

He said it was necessary to make sure production of motorcycle powertrains stays in the Milwaukee area. He said the vote change was accomplished through "dialogue" with the approximately 1,600 members of the local.

The expansion will take place in the Harley plant in Menomonee Falls in about 360,000 square feet of space vacated last year by Briggs & Stratton Corp., Wheiland said.

The state has also pledged to help with the project and was instrumental in helping the two sides reach agreement, Wheiland said.

In a statement Tuesday night, Gov. Jim Doyle said the state "put forward a generous incentive package that is based on Harley's long-term commitment to this state."

Wisconsin Secretary of Commerce Mary Burke has said the offer includes help with infrastructure, capital and training costs, but no exact terms have been released.

Burke has said that overall, the deal means Harley will add about 200 jobs statewide. In addition to its operations in the Milwaukee area, Harley has a plant in Tomahawk. Harley also assembles motorcycles in Kansas City, Mo., and York, Pa.

For its part, the company issued a statement Tuesday night saying it was excited to be able to move forward with the expansion in Milwaukee.

"We appreciate those who supported the proposal and respect those who had a different view of the situation," the statement, which was not attributed to any individual, said.

"We also acknowledge the efforts of the (union) leadership who worked hard on this proposal over many months. The company originally sought to expand in some other part of the country to add capacity, reduce long term costs and improve manufacturing flexibility. However, our (union) partners persisted in seeking to keep the work here."

Harley employs about 4,500 in the Milwaukee area, including the members of Local 2-209.

Still work to do
Wheiland said that there is work to do to patch up relations between the company and some union members unhappy about reducing wages and benefits when the firm is so profitable. Harley expects to post profits of about $1 billion this year.

The Harley statement said "this is about the company's continued success in the years ahead. We have an obligation to all stakeholders to manage costs across the entire organization that could be detrimental to our business in the long run if we don't start to control them now."
 

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Without unions we all would be making minimum wage. No employer likes paying more than they think you should make as long as the employers are making huge profits!

JMHO
 

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To iWings point...yes healthcare seems to be a major issue.

Here in the US we have fantastic medical care, but it is ridiculously expensive. I have several friends who are MD's, and while they do make a good income, as fdo their staff, a HUGE part of the office revenues goes towards two main costs

1) malpractice insurance
2) staff to deal with insurance companies

While there are certainly MD's who are negligent and should not be in the profession, lawyers have driven up healt care costs in this country. We have all seen what the lawyers can do....

Then there is the morass of beuracracy when dealing with insurance companies.....the insurance companies spend a lot trying NOT to pay....the MD's spend a lot trying to get paid....it is crazy.

Meanwhile, some schmoe who has realized the American dream, worked hard in a factory for 35 years, has a nice middle class house, put the kids through school etc. can have their entire retirement wiped out by medical bills.

If we could get tird of the lawyers and insurance company beuracracy I think medical costs would be considerably reduced.

But what do I know, I ride a rice burning Goldwing!
 

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No argument from me NJREF. It is the wicked combination that you layed out driving up the cost of healthcare. We are all in the same boat. Until the cleansing of the system happens, we have to dig a little deeper in our pockets to pay for the added expense to healthcare. Union, or non-union. Business owner, or schmoe.
 

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I have never belonged to a union but looking at the fix "Walmart" employees are in I can understand the need for them. Health care being cut, premiums increasing, long term employees being terminated and temporary employees hired to take there place. All for $7-$8 an hour. Something is wrong with this picture.
 

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those Goodyear workers better take heed... Goodyear already closed one plant... i don't think they will hesitate to close others.. I wonder if the Unions will try to infiltrate China & Tiawan ? uh.. i bet not..

cosmic
 

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wingman57 said:
Without unions we all would be making minimum wage.
Wow. I needed a good laugh on a Friday morning.

If you think unions are that important, I really feel sorry for you. I hope you and your wife don't ever set foot into any Wal-Mart.

The future will more and more leave unions behind, as the unions continue to do the very things that will lead to their eventual demise.

That said, a hint for everyone out there.... Think twice about tires built during a labor conflict. Some of the Firestone Wilderness tires (i.e. the Ford Explorer tire recall) with the highest failure rates were made in a union plant while the union workers were very unhappy with management. These tires failed more often, compared to other Wilderness tires from other plants that did not have labor issues.

And by the way, that plant is no more. Bridgestone/Firestone shut it down and the building remains empty to this day (Decatur, IL).
 

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Malpractice insurance and defensive medical practice do factor into medical costs, but they are not the reason the costs are rising -- rather they are already factored into why teh ocst were higher than they could have bben already. I am all for tort reform, but even that will not solve the roblem of rising costs. Our society is growing older. Older folks have more maladies and need more preventative medicine to avoid consequences of some of those maladies and need more tretment when those maladies express thenselves as symptoms. Further, being the competitive and brilliant minded cultrue we are, we expect and demand improvements in medical are. Many of the current state of the art medical therapies, medicines, cures, surgeries and so forth simly did not exist a few years ago, thus they are represent a direct add on to the costs of medical care, not an increae oc costs of pre-existing services. Medical services' costs have been, for quite some time now, capped by onibus legislation. What Medicare and insurances companies will pay for a given appproved procedure really has not increaed significantly in a couple of decades, has not even kept up with our modest inflation. But e have many more people needing those services and we have many new services to offer and we have relativley less folks in the work force paying the costs. Its a house of card that will collapse in near future.

In the past, the government and employers found it expedient and the "load" upon thse plans was initially low. Medical care was more limited and the work force was relatively young and large.

Over the relatively short time that this arrangement has existed, the "load" of aged previous workers/employees/retirees has accumulated to the point that keeping the promises made to them now costs more than the current production of some of the companies, and a big chunk of that of others and also a big chunk of our economy's gross product. We can not sustain this. We have becore asucotmed to having this wonderful high standard of living and care and 3rd world foreigh competition is still mstly in the low load stage of development and are eating our cake. That is the problem.

So, any body got a workable solution?

prs
 

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Wasn't long ago that the employees of Walmart in "China" unionized. They break the unions here where the goods are bought but let them go where they mfg them, makes sense? Sold what little stock I had with them after I read that.
 

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Walmart employees should all revolt and quit. The fast food industry will happily employ them for LESS money!
JU
 

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Labor unions are the closest thing society has to compare with a parasite that kills it's host and itself by oversucking on the blood supply.
Yes, companies will always try and pay as little as possible just like consumers. A natural product of free enterprise, supply, demand, etc. There are no easy solutions or perfect answers. IMHO But then again I have 2 new tires in the garage.
 

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Unions were formed way back when and during this time frame our economy was defined by the borders of the United States. Today the companies and unions have to learn how to compete in a world wide economy and that will require massive changes in thought process, productivity, quality and team work. The union can not continue to demand large benefits packages and wage increases without the same scale increase in quality and productivity.

To complete in a world economy is a difficult task and can not be accomplished when parties are continually at odds. Everyone likes to equate everything to sports so when management is on one side of the line of scrimmage and the union are on the other there is nothing but opposition in front of you. Now each side gives a little and lines up on the same side, guess what when you look ahead nothing but their goals are in front of them.

Sounds so simple but will never happen its something called human ego
 

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Ulrich... Less money? Not so sure, In and out burger starts their kids out at 8.50 and they dont expect them to work split shifts like wallmart and Disney.

Union or not I despise the way walmart treats the employees. It was reported recently that the new ploy was kicking people to split shifts and long term emp with over 20 years back to part time with split shifts.


I dont care for unions but corporations leading people to believe that the only way to cut costs is to lay off workers and get rid of unions are only kidding those that have never worked for a big corporation.
 

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mrgl02 said:
Think twice about tires built during a labor conflict. Some of the Firestone Wilderness tires (i.e. the Ford Explorer tire recall) with the highest failure rates were made in a union plant while the union workers were very unhappy with management.
So were they on strike, or did the workers intentionally manufacture defective tires and the QC people intentionally let them thru to cause intentional harm to the public at large? Yep, Unions have served their purpose, time to move on.
 

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Closetchef said:
So were they on strike, or did the workers intentionally manufacture defective tires and the QC people intentionally let them thru to cause intentional harm to the public at large? Yep, Unions have served their purpose, time to move on.

Tires from one plant showed higher rates of failure during a prolonged labor issue and strike.

Analysis of monthly data showed an notable increase in the number of claims due to tire defects during three distinct periods of time. They are:

1) The few months before the labor contract expired.

2) When the manufacturer demanded concessions from labor.

3) When recalled union labor and replacement workers worked side by side.

So, could it be a union labor issue? Yes on #1 and #2, possible on #3. Could it be a replacement worker problem? Definitely possible during #3... but not during #1 and #2.

Honestly, I don't really care. It's your money and your skin. But think twice when it is your wife and your kids that are in the car, riding on those tires.
 
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