Monday, Goodyear announced plans to sell the Freeport tire plant. The company was bought by Titan Tire who is based in Quincy, Illinois.
Titan purchased Goodyear for $100 million in efforts to reduce their $10 billion debt, but what is interesting in this sale is the 810 workers at Freeport will either be the deal makers or the deal breakers.
When the workers agreed on a new contract back in April of 2004 that contract has a succesorship clause that mandates that Titan has to negotiate a new contract with the Freeport United Steelworkers Union before completing the sale.
Already the USWA is far from optimistic about reaching a new deal. Titan has had a long history of poor labor relations. At their Des Moines facility workers were on strike for 40 months.
USWA President, Steve Vanderheyden says, “It will take a contract very similar to the one they have now if the employees were to even approve the sale. If we were able to achieve that same contract then there is a possibility of the sale taking place.”
At the plant a van greeted workers as they left on it a message saying "Goodyear protects our good name, your name is sell-out."
Of the workers that 23 News talked with off camera many were very upset others say it's too early to tell how this will all work out since they don't know what Titan will offer. On average the workers have been on the job for about 26 years and the Freeport plant is known for their performance.
Workers can keep their current contract, which expires in July 2006, if they reject Titans offer. Negotiations should start sometime in March.