AKRON, Ohio (AP) -- Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and the United Steelworkers of America were headed into national contract talks with the recession as a backdrop and job security a key priority.
Talks were scheduled to begin Monday in Cincinnati. The three-year contract covering about 10,300 Steelworkers at seven Goodyear plans in the U.S. expires July 18.
The Steelworkers said job security would overshadow other issues in contract talks covering workers in Akron; Buffalo, N.Y.; Danville, Va.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Gadsden, Ala.; Topeka, Kan., and Union City, Tenn.
The company wants to improve productivity and flexibility.
Bob Keegan, Goodyear's chief executive, has said the company plans to cut 5,000 jobs globally this year, including 3,800 cuts made through March. Goodyear has about 71,000 employees worldwide, with 30,000 in the United States.
Steelworkers struck Goodyear for three months in 2006 in a walkout that ended when the Akron-based company and Pittsburgh-based union agreed to create an independent health-care fund to pay for union retiree health benefits. Goodyear agreed to a one-time payment of $1 billion into the fund.
The agreement also led to the closing of a Goodyear tire plant in Tyler, Texas.