Fayetteville, N.C. — About 2,500 employees of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. in Fayetteville could go on strike if the company can't agree on a new contract by midnight Saturday with the United Steelworkers of America.
Darryl Jackson, president of the Local 959, on Thursday declined to say how talks are going but said that the union is still in negotiations with the tire manufacturer and that workers were put on notice about the possibility of a strike in case an agreement can't be reached.
The two sides have been in negotiations since April.
"We'll see how it plays out," Jackson said from Cincinnati, where talks are underway. "Hopefully, we can reach an agreement. We're trying as hard as we can."
A flier given to union members on Tuesday says little progress has been made concerning wages and that Goodyear wants to more than double health care costs and "drastically increase" co-pays for prescription drugs.
Other sticking points involve pension plans and vacation time.
The handout goes on to say: "Our members should start to prepare for the financial struggles that may lie ahead."
Goodyear spokesman Ed Markey on Thursday also declined to comment on negotiations but said the company is "committed to working with the Steelworkers to develop a mutually beneficial agreement."
In the Fayetteville plant's 40-year history, workers have gone on strike twice – the last time for about three months in 2006 over a contract dispute regarding health care for retirees and plans to close a factory in Texas.
In 2009, workers came close to another walkout, but the union and Goodyear reached a contract deal three hours before the midnight deadline.