CLEVELAND (AP) - Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. and the union representing about 12,600 union workers in the United States said they reached a tentative deal Friday on a new contract that would bring an end to an 11-week strike over health care benefits and Goodyear's plan to close a tire factory in Texas.
The third-largest tiremaker and the United Steelworkers union reached the deal after both sides resumed talks in Pittsburgh early this week. The strike began Oct. 5.
The union says the deal would require Goodyear to drop plans to close the plant in Tyler, Texas, immediately in return for an offer of a retirement buyout. The plant employs 1,100 workers.
The previous three-year labor agreement expired July 22.
"This agreement validates the solidarity of our members and their families, who wouldn't allow the company to walk away from obligations earned through a lifetime of hard work and loyalty," Steelworkers President Leo W. Gerard said.
The 12 Goodyear plants covered by the tentative agreement are in Akron, Marysville and St. Marys in Ohio; Tonowanda, N.Y.; Danville, Va.; Fayetteville, N.C.; Gadsden, Ala.; Lincoln, Neb.; Sun Prairie, Wis.; Topeka, Kan.; Tyler, Texas; and Union City, Tenn.
Goodyear said it has made a proposal to its Canadian workers and is awaiting a response. Goodyear has two plants in Toronto and plants in Collingwood and Owen Sound.
During the strike, Goodyear made tires at some of its North American plants with nonunion and temporary workers as well as some managers. That pushed the union to publicly express concerns about the safety of the newly trained workers who quickly took over tire-making jobs and the quality of the tires they made. Goodyear said the workers followed the same safety and quality standards union employees did.