Today all striking members of the United Steelworkers returned to work at Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., ending a three-month long work stoppage.

Goodyear said that the labor agreement ratified by USW will allow the company to save up to $610 million over three years and $300 million a year in ongoing savings.

Goodyear will invest $550 million over three years in its USW facilities to boost its efficiency and competitiveness with global suppliers. USW said to the company pledged to establish a trust that will secure medical and prescription drug benefits for current and future retirees worth more than $1 billion.

“It took a strike, but we achieved a fair and equitable contract that protects quality health care for active and retired members,” said USW executive vp Ron Hoover. “And by winning major capital investment expenditures, it secures our jobs for the future.”

“Reaching agreement on a contract that competitively positions Goodyear for the future is a huge achievement for everyone involved in the negotiation process,” said Robert J. Keegan, chairman & CEO. “The end result is Goodyear will be a stronger company, a stronger employer and a stronger overall global competitor.”

The contract also requires Goodyear to rescind its demand for the immediate closure of its Tyler, TX plant through 2007. Until then, workers will have the opportunity to accept retirement buyouts.

“We wanted to win Tyler protected status like the other plants, but we only got it for 2007,” said Kevin Johnsen, USW-Goodyear contractor coordinator.

The contract covers 12 plants and their workers in Akron, OH; Buffalo, NY; Danville, VA; Fayetteville, NC; Gadsden, AL; Lincoln, NE; Marysville, OH; St. Marys, OH; Sun Prairie, WI; Topeka, KA; Tyler, TX and Union City, TN.

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