By John Nolan
The Associated Press
Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. shares rose more than 4 percent Thursday after the company and the United Steelworkers of America agreed to a tentative three-year contract, reducing the threat of a strike at the struggling company.
After a weekend of all-night bargaining sessions in Cincinnati and five months of negotiations, the two sides said Wednesday that they found common ground on job security and health care issues for workers while leaving enough financial room for Goodyear to reorganize its business.
Akron-based Goodyear's shares rose 26 cents to close at $6.56 on the New York Stock Exchange.
The prior three-year contract expired April 19 but had been extended. It covered at least 16,000 employees at 14 plants in Ohio, Virginia, North Carolina, Illinois, Alabama, Nebraska, Wisconsin, New York, Kansas, Texas and Tennessee.
Union officials said they pushed the company to reduce its number of salaried employees.
Bud Allred, executive board member of Steelworkers Local 746L at Goodyear's Kelly-Springfield tire plant in Tyler, Texas, said cuts among Goodyear's salaried employees are a "foregone conclusion."
"They know they're going to have to reduce the salaried ranks within the plants and probably in corporate as well," Allred said.
Goodyear spokesman Chuck Sinclair and Wayne Ranick, spokesman for the union negotiators, declined to say whether the company plans to cut its salaried work force. They would not discuss any details of the deal before the union locals' ratification votes, which could take at least two weeks.
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