TYLER – If United Steelworkers nationwide approve a deal with Goodyear Thursday, the Tyler plant that employs 1,100 workers will remain open - at least for a year.

Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company and the United Steelworkers have reached a tentative agreement on a new master contract covering about 12,600 employees at 12 tire and engineered products plants in the United States, the tire company reported.

The deal allows Goodyear to close the plant, which manufactures passenger car tires, in one year. Workers will have the opportunity to take advantage of retirement buyouts.

Union and city officials in Tyler said the one-year reprieve could be used to consider opportunities for the plant’s future.

“This is a hopeful sign,” Tyler Economic Development Council president and CEO Tom Mullins said. Tyler offered Goodyear $12 million in incentives to keep the plant open.

Although details of the tentative agreement will not be released until USW members at Goodyear have voted, the union said in a news release that the agreement addresses three crucial areas of concern by:

• Establishing a 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.

The previous three-year labor agreement expired July 22. The Goodyear USW members have been on strike since October 5.

The 12 master contract plants covered by the tentative agreement are: Akron, Ohio; Buffalo, N.Y.; Danville, Va.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Gadsden, Ala.; Lincoln, Neb.; Marysville, Ohio; St. Marys, Ohio; Sun Prairie, Wis.; Topeka, Kan.; Tyler, Texas; and Union City, Tenn.

Tyler union officials had hoped to keep the plant open permanently, but could not win that concession from the company.

“It’s not as good as we’d like to have done, but it’s more than Goodyear wanted to do,” said Jim Wansley, president of USW Local 746L in Tyler.”

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