The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company today said that the United Steelworkers declared a strike against the company after the union rejected a comprehensive proposal from Goodyear. Negotiations stalled after the union's proposals to Goodyear did not include key items found in their agreements with competitors.

"We simply cannot accept a contract that knowingly creates a competitive disadvantage vs. our foreign-owned competition and increases our cost disadvantage vs. imports," said Jim Allen, Goodyear's chief negotiator.

Goodyear's final offer to the union delivered this morning included provisions for job security and significant investments for USW represented plants going forward, a company-funded plan to secure retiree medical benefits and restoration of prior pension service credit.

The strike involves 12 U.S. plants covered under the master labor agreement and four additional facilities in Canada.

"We remain willing to continue to bargain with the Steelworkers," said Allen. "In the meantime we have implemented our strike contingency plans at the affected facilities and are working to minimize impact on our customers."