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A new brand of labor talks

Goodyear tires on display

TEXT OF STORY

MARK AUSTIN THOMAS: 13,000 Goodyear Tire & Rubber workers will vote on a new contract today. This follows a three-month strike. Negotiations were difficult, complicated by the fact that there were more parties involved than just labor and management. Marketplace's Steve Tripoli has more.


STEVE TRIPOLI: If you've been trying to keep score on this one, good luck.

Still the big issues are familiar: who controls the size of the workforce and who pays health care costs.

Labor specialist John Russo at Youngstown State University says both sides gave a little.

JOHN RUSSO: It's a good agreement for both the company and the union ultimately.

Reporter Jim MacKinnon covered the strike for the Akron Beacon-Journal.

JIM MacKINNON: Goodyear gets a chance to close down some of its excess capacity after 2007. Meanwhile the union workers are going to continue to get health care benefits.

But wait. John Russo says there's a third party involved.

RUSSO: During the negotiations the retirees at Goodyear actually picketed both the union and the company.

Russo says retirees may be the big losers here because they'll have to pay more for health care. This strike also featured organized support from Goodyear workers in other countries.

Welcome to the new world of multi-national, multi-generational labor talks.

I'm Steve Tripoli for Marketplace.

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