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January 5, 2007

The shift to a part-time economy widens split between haves/have-nots

Metro North Terminal takes off

CNN's Dobbs urges IBEW: 'raise some hell' about U.S. workers, trade policies

MASCI names Gedge 'Apprentice of The Year'

Michigan case a beacon for bolstering OSHA enforcement

Michigan Construction Safety Day expands training

News Briefs

 

The shift to a part-time economy widens split between haves/have-nots

News item: In October, Wal-Mart, the largest employer in the U.S. with revenues of $310 billion a year, announced it was going to double the number of its workers employed part-time - from 20 percent to 40 percent of its total work force - while reducing full-time jobs by yet unknown thousands at the company.

Given Wal-Mart's total U.S. employment of 1.3 million, that means 260,000 more Wal-Mart workers will now make roughly half of what full-time employees earn. What little health benefits and other company-paid benefits the 260,000 had as full-time employees will be reduced or eliminated. Wal-Mart will save an estimated $3.042 billion a year in wages and benefits by doubling its part-time work force to 40 percent, for a total of 520,000 part-timers.

Wal-Mart also announced in October a "cap" on wages that will impact many thousands more of its workers. In addition, both part-time and full-time workers will have to work erratic work schedules and be on call nights and weekends, with as little as 24-hour notice of work shift changes.

The combined total from the announced changes could easily amount to $5 billion a year in direct savings to the company and, in turn, in lost income to workers.

Wal-Mart is organized labor's favorite corporate whipping boy - a retailing behemoth that has shown the rest of corporate America how to cut employee-related costs while maximizing profits. But Wal-Mart is only the most visible symbol of a massive corporate restructuring that has shaken American industry - and its workforce - to their core.

Jack Rasmus, author of The War At Home: The Corporate Offensive From Ronald Reagan To George W. Bush, took a look at the affect of that ongoing restructuring and offered a synopsis of his book to the International Labor Communications Association.

"Both the dismantling of entire industries and the continuing mass exportation of jobs, as well as today's continuing creation of a two-tier work force with tens of millions of second-class workers, must be checked before there can be an end to the current massive shift of incomes between classes in America," Rasmus concluded.

Rasmus correlated today's economy with that of the Great Depression, where "the picture was one of millions of U.S. workers on the move, criss-crossing the country looking for any kind of work. The overall picture today is one of millions of U.S. jobs moving in, out, and across U.S. external borders or being radically re-cast in new forms by corporations intent on reducing costs and expanding profit margins."

He wrote that "vast armies of workers" are moving across and between virtual internal borders of under-employment, temporary and semi-employment and underground employment, as they "desperately attempt to survive corporate restructuring of jobs and the now three-decade-long freeze that has occurred in the real value of their wages and earnings."

Corporate restructuring began in the 1980s, with the off-shoring of U.S. manufacturing operations. That trend spread to the technology industry in the mid-1990s and in recent years has migrated to other major sectors of the economy. Rasmus pointed out that one of the latest trends is off-shoring medical procedures: government subsidized clinics in Singapore are urging American health insurance companies to send them patients, since heart bypasses can be performed there at one-third the cost - and that's including travel expenses.

"The dismantling of the U.S. manufacturing base, in particular," Rasmus wrote, "is about to enter a new phase with the imminent exportation of at least 200,000 more U.S. auto industry jobs to China, India, and Mexico over the next three years."

As Princeton University economist Alan Blinder, a former U.S. Federal Reserve Board vice-chair, admitted in Foreign Affairs: "We have so far barely seen the tip of the off-shoring iceberg, the eventual dimensions of which may be staggering."

Corporate restructuring of jobs and job markets in the U.S. has also taken other forms. Industry-wide collective bargaining agreements are a thing of the past, with only 8 percent of the nation's private sector workforce unionized. A reverse kind of off-shoring brings in workers under H-1B visas, where jobs requiring high skills are allocated under visas to foreign professionals.

They can at least be counted: Rasmus reports that nearly five million workers have disappeared from official government totals of those potentially available for work - apparently neither employed or unemployed, "but labeled missing by economists who can't seem to account for where they've gone."

Like Wal-Mart, big-name retailers like Sears, Target, and others are rapidly shifting to part-time jobs as well. The major department store chain Mervyns announced it was terminating all full-time employees and replacing them with part-time and temporary employees. Soon big box retail will be virtually all part-time/temp employment. A similar trend has been growing in the hotel, hospitality, and related industries.

Trucking companies are dramatically reducing their traditional work force of permanent drivers and leasing out their vehicles to independent contractors. Workers in manufacturing, too, are feeling the heat: 3,000 workers in the HP manufacturing facility in Boise, Idaho in 2005 discovered that HP management overnight arbitrarily reclassified everyone as "independent contractors" instead of employees.

And as the dismantling of the U.S. auto industry accelerates, tens of thousands of temporary workers in many plants in that industry will receive wages about half of what unionized auto workers once made and few if any benefits.

Even though the methodology for counting temporary workers isn't consistent, the trend toward making workers part-time is clear. Combined part-time and temp jobs have increased from a combined 29.3 million in 2000 to 33.8 million by 2004 - a gain of 15.3 percent in just four years.

Rasmus stated: "Those who wonder why there are 47 million workers in the U.S. today without any form of health insurance should consider the effects of corporate job restructuring… 60 million workers in the U.S. don't have a regular, permanent, full-time job any more in America.

"With 30 million new part-time, temp, and contract workers getting on average a third less pay and 75 percent to 80 percent less in benefits, the aggregate annual wage savings for corporate America due to this restructuring amounts to roughly $350 billion a year in pay and benefits alone.

"Any effective strategy aimed at restoring the growth of union labor and the effectiveness of union bargaining in America, and in turn halting the current $1 trillion shift in relative income in the U.S., will have to address this corporate restructuring of jobs in America."

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Metro North Terminal takes off

By Marty Mulcahy
Managing Editor

ROMULUS - Across from the gleaming five-year-old McNamara Terminal, and astride an active taxiway and runway, rises the new North Terminal Redevelopment Project at Metro Airport.

The North Terminal is a half-mile-long, $443 million terminal that will replace the airport's aging Berry and Smith terminals.

According to Wayne County Airport Authority, the new terminal, which has been expanded to include about 31 gates, "will complete the airport's mission of modernizing the entire airport terminal complex and create a world-class facility that provides the type of services all our passengers and visitors deserve." Completion of this terminal, following the opening of the well-received 99-gate McNamara Terminal, is expected to rank the airport as among the nation's best.

"With its simple linear design and modern conveniences, the north terminal will represent a significant upgrade in customer convenience compared to the Smith and Berry Terminals," said airport authority CEO Lester Robinson. "It will also provide a considerable improvement in efficiency for the airlines."

The joint venture of Walbridge- Barton Malow are managing the construction of the new terminal, which will encompass about 830,000 square feet in the vicinity of the demolished Davey Terminal and old Westin Hotel. Foundation work began in September 2005.

Walbridge-Barton Malow General Supt. Al Stevens said approximately 200 construction workers are currently on the job, a number which will increase to 700-750 at peak employment. The project is projected to be complete in the summer of 2008

"It's a great crew," Stevens said. "One thing about working in this region, you can't beat the construction people around here." The trades are currently putting up steel up, moving dirt, and installing underground utilities, storm water lines and foundations.

The North Terminal will have two levels. The upper level will have ticket areas, luggage check-in, security, shops and restaurants. The lower level will be reserved for baggage and security functions.

Hardhats are currently able to park on in an area close to their jobs on an area that will become a runway apron. As work progresses, that space will that will become unavailable, and they will have to be transported to their jobs from off-site parking.

"We have a large project in a small location," Stevens said. "It's a half-mile long project, but it's very narrow, and we're utilizing the site to its fullest. We're trying to make it as convenient as possible for the workers to get to the site, for as long as we can."

Consideration is being given to workers on the project in another form: safety. In May, Walbridge-Barton Malow, MIOSHA, the Wayne County Airport Authority and the Michigan Building and Construction Trades Council signed on to an unprecedented commitment to making this a safe work site.

The partnership agreement was established to raise awareness and promote safety for all personnel employed in the Detroit Metropolitan Airport construction project. Recognizing that engineering techniques alone are not enough to ensure that exposure to hazards are controlled, the program includes coordination, monitoring and educating the personnel involved in the project. These components will be implemented through the same principles of management control applied throughout all phases of the project.

The goal: zero injuries on the project. Through November, Stevens said, there were 208,000 man-hours worked on the project with one recordable injury and no lost-time injuries.

Key elements of the safety and health program for the project include:

  • Adherence to all safety policies, procedures, and MIOSHA standards.
  • 100 percent fall protection over 6 feet, including steel erection and roof work..
  • Certification of all crane operators.
  • Substance abuse testing through M.U.S.T. or equivalent program - adherence by all trade contractors.
  • Pre-Task Analysis to be completed and submitted to WBM by contractors prior to beginning critical work.
  • Contractors' use of a Competent and/or Qualified Person for work operations as identified by MIOSHA standards.
  • Uniform enforcement of disciplinary actions for employees who fail to work in a safe manner.
  • "Partnering with MIOSHA allows us to utilize all the team members in the pursuit of that goal," said Mark S. Klimbal, CSP, Corporate Safety Director, Barton Malow Company. "Through this cooperative effort, we can focus even more resources on the requirement to run a project driven by safety, quality, and productivity."

    STACKING CONCRETE FORMS at the Metropolitan Airport North Terminal at Metro Airport is Jeff Roberts of Laborers Local 334.

    SETTING A COLUMN in an area that will be the North Terminal's lower-level baggage-handling area are Cam Montour and Ralph Birchmeier of Iron Workers Local 25 and Midwest Steel. The crane operator is Mike Reynolds of Operating Engineers Local 324.

    WORKING IN THE Superior Electric trailer at the North Terminal site are (l-r) electricians Ken Burnahm and Dan Geppert of IBEW Local 58.

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    CNN's Dobbs urges IBEW: 'raise some hell' about U.S. workers, trade policies

    (Editor's note: this article came from the IBEW, which was covering TV anchor Lou Dobbs' speech to their convention delegates in September. We only recently came across the article, and thought Dobbs' worker-friendly views should be printed here, albeit a little late).

    CLEVELAND - Proclaiming pride in being called a "protectionist" and a "populist" by corporate America, TV anchor Lou Dobbs fired up delegates to the 37th convention of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, turning his speech into a town hall meeting on trade, jobs and the needs of working families.

    Dobbs, the anchor and managing editor of CNN's "Lou Dobbs Tonight," was named the first recipient of IBEW's Voice of Working America Award, presented by the union for telling the true story, the real deal about what is happening to America's working families.

    Dobbs ripped into a critique of the U.S. political, corporate and media elites. Our Constitution begins with the words, "We, the people, not we the elitists, we the corporatists, we the free-trade-at-any-price," said Dobbs. "Democracy is fundamentally about us, the people. We're losing sight of that. We are at a stage in our national life in which corporate America has come to dominate every major facet of our economy and our society.

    "The minimum wage hasn't been raised in nine years in this country. The idea that this Congress could worry about an estate tax for the wealthiest two percent of this nation, could reform the bankruptcy law according to the exact details and instructions of the financial services industry should be
    repugnant to every American."

    Dobbs continued, "Whether you're a Democrat or you're a Republican or you're an Independent, please let us agree on one thing: We must have countervailing influences to dominant political power in this nation in order for this great democracy to work.

    "There is no excuse for those values in an American Congress, whether Republican or Democrat," Dobbs added. "Democrats voted along with Republicans on the bankruptcy law of 2005. Democrats are voting along with Republicans on free trade agreements whether it's CAFTA or it's NAFTA or, as so many of my viewers love to talk about, SHAFTA."

    "I'm one of those fools who said we should go ahead with NAFTA in 1993. I did so with two very bad assumptions on my part. One is that President Salinas of Mexico and President Clinton of the United States were serious in the side agreements on environmental and labor protection," said Dobbs. "I hate being wrong, but I do admit one of those rare, infrequent, almost impossible to recall occasions when I am."

    The United States has contributed nearly 80 percent of the total wealth created around the world over the course of the last 30 years, he added. Yet, during that same period, real earnings have been stagnant, and manufacturing wages have actually declined. "Now (we are called protectionists) for suggesting that it is unfair, that it is madness to destroy an industrial base…that was the world's envy," said Dobbs.

    Expressing anger at President Bush's contention that immigrants are taking jobs that Americans don't want, Dobbs said, "This president can't finish a sentence. Americans don't want jobs that pay slave wages."

    When social issues start clouding the political thinking of Americans, Dobbs suggested, change the subject to talk about the $5 trillion trade deficit, or the facts that 48 million people in the United States don't have health care.

    "Talk about the fact that we can drop hundreds of billions of dollars into overseas adventures and nation building, but we can't spend a billion dollars to secure our ports and borders."

    When a delegate asked Dobbs what he would think about providing tax breaks to companies that would bring manufacturing back to the United States, he said, "I guess I'd be all right with that." But he also offered a different view.

    "How about this - a company that off-shores American production, exports American jobs, and then exports back those goods and services to this country, how about we tax the bloody hell out of them?"

    Saying that he was tired of people sitting and simply "discussing the sociopolitical economic situation," Dobbs drew thundering applause when he shouted, "No. Raise some hell. Give a damn. And don't be embarrassed to be a little passionate… If we're honest with one another and demand the truth, you and I will have a great deal to be proud of and we'll assure our children a bright future that otherwise would be denied them."


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    MASCI names Gedge 'Apprentice of The Year'

    A former Georgia police officer has been named the 2006 "Apprentice of the Year" by the Michigan Apprenticeship Steering Committee Inc. (MASCI). Kerry Gedge of Alanson, an Operating Engineer apprentice, was selected for her "integrity, work ethic, and commitment," according to Barbara S. Strachan, a spokeswoman for the committee.

    MASCI is a partnership of labor, management, education, and the public, founded in 1977 to promote apprenticeship in Michigan. Now in its sixth year, the MASCI Apprentice of the Year award is open to all active apprentices in the more than 100 building and manufacturing trades in Michigan.

    Gregg A. Newsom, training director of the Journeyman & Apprentice Training Fund's Howell Education Center for Operating Engineers Local 324, where Gedge has trained for the last four years, says she will make an outstanding journeyman operating engineer.

    "Kerry Gedge is a remarkable young woman, who has demonstrated over and over the importance of having a positive attitude, self respect, and a strong work ethic," says Newsom. "Even as an apprentice, Kerry leads by example and positively affects those around her. She will make a valuable addition to any contractor's team."

    According to MASCI, criteria for the award include attendance and punctuality in class and on the job; outstanding craft mastery and productivity; leadership skills and teamwork; safety awareness; spirit of competitiveness; community service; and commitment to their craft, their employer, their union, and their community.

    "One of the reasons we do this is to help promote pride in the lives of the apprentices," says Strachan. "When an apprentice is finished with their program, that's really an accomplishment, and they should be proud of it. It all boils down to work ethic and personal integrity. Kerry Gedge has both."

    According to Strachan, Gedge is the third Operating Engineer apprentice to win the award in Michigan since 2003. The others were Pam Walker and Clenton Weston Jr.

    Gedge, who will graduate this month as a Journeyman Operating Engineer, is currently working as a crane oiler at the Consumers Energy J.J. Campbell Power Plant in West Olive, near Grand Haven. Previously she was a police officer in Statesboro, Georgia. She earned a bachelor of science in criminal justice from Georgia Southern University.

    (From MichiganConstructionNews.com)

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    Michigan case a beacon for bolstering OSHA enforcement

    The issue of how to enhance efforts to enforce worksite safety standards was taken up in two venues last month - in the U.S. Senate and in the Michigan Court of Appeals.

    Responding to demands for stepped up enforcement to counteract dangerous conditions at the nation's worksites, Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-MA) - incoming chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee - announced last month that he will introduce legislation to reform the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) when he takes office in January.

    Among the reforms he said he would pursue are:

    1. extension of OSHA protections to federal and state employees
    2. application of "meaningful penalties" against employers whose willful violation of standards results in workers' deaths or serious injuries;
    3. protection of safety "whistleblowers" and the public's right to know about employer safety violations; and
    4. clarification of employer obligations to provide personal protective equipment (PPE) and other safety protections to workers.

    Kennedy chaired the same committee when the Democrats last controlled the Senate, and he introduced legislation at that time that sought to strengthen OSHA's standards-setting and enforcement authority, both of which have waned under Republican domination of Congress.

    Laborers International Union General President Terence M. O'Sullivan welcomed Kennedy's initiative. "In recent years under the Bush Administration, OSHA has stepped back from its responsibility to enforce its own safety regulations," he said. "With lagging enforcement, we're drifting back toward the days when unscrupulous contractors cut corners on safety, taking advantage of the situation to maximize profits at the expense of responsible competitors. OSHA enforcement is absolutely necessary, not only to ensure safety for the workforce, but also to maintain a level playing field in the industry."

    One key issue in enforcement is criminal liability. Because under OSHA even a willful violation that results in the death of a worker can be prosecuted only as a misdemeanor, federal prosecutors are reluctant to pursue criminal cases. Despite more than 200,000 on-the-job deaths in the U.S. since OSHA was created in 1972, only 151 were referred to the Justice Department for prosecution. Of these, only eight company officials received jail time. The longest sentence was six months.

    Because the federal government has been so reluctant to pursue criminal prosecutions, some state officials have stepped into the gap. In November in Michigan - in a decision that attracted national attention because the original prosecutor was running for re-election as the state's governor (Gov. Granholm, Michigan's former attorney general, was re-elected governor) - one of these state convictions was upheld on appeal.

    In 1999, a Lanzo Construction Company worker was killed in a trench collapse after the company foreman ignored workers' request to stop excavation work due to sporadic rain. Despite Michigan OSHA (MIOSHA) regulations, the 15-foot deep trench was not shored, and a trench box on the site was not in use. At its trial, the company asserted that it could not be held criminally liable for the actions of its employees. The company was acquitted on an involuntary manslaughter charge but given a $10,000 fine and two years' probation for willful violation of the MIOSHA regulation.

    The Michigan Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the trial court, saying that the Lanzo foreman and its superintendent were "high management officials" who had "supervisory responsibility over the subject matter of the offense" and acted "within the scope of [their] employment in behalf of the corporation."

    The foreman, the court determined, was a "qualified person" under MIOSHA and was responsible for work site safety and could decide whether extra precautions were required. The superintendent, also a "qualified person," was culpable because his responsibilities included employee safety. It was the superintendent who acknowledged that, though the failure to shore the trench violated MIOSHA regulations, he believed it was safe for employees to work in it for a short period of time. He also acknowledged that he had failed to provide trench safety training to the crew, relying instead on their experience as pipe layers.

    As for the meaning of "willful," the other issue on appeal, the court said it "requires only that a defendant either intentionally disregard a requirement of MIOSHA or be knowingly or purposely indifferent to a requirement of MIOSHA." The evidence of disregard was the lack of required trench protection and the failure to shut down operations despite workers' complaints that the rain had increased the danger.

    The decision in Michigan - along with similar cases in Arizona - may bolster Kennedy's case when he introduces his legislation in January. In some quarters, at least, concern about willful disregard of workplace safety regulations seems to be mounting. Nevertheless, it remains uncertain whether Kennedy's bill will be adopted by the full Senate and the House, much less signed by the President.

    (From the Laborers Health and Safety Fund).

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    Michigan Construction Safety Day expands training

    Safety training is being expanded once again to serve even more of the employees and contractors throughout Michigan. New in 2007, Michigan Construction Safety Day will be presented not only in East Lansing but also in Livonia and Marquette.

    Michigan Construction Safety Day is a program designed for key leaders of Michigan's commercial construction industry including CEO's, managers, safety directors, field engineers, supervisors, foremen and trades workers. Owners or representatives of the construction user community are also encouraged to attend one of three daylong programs.

    • The 16th Annual Michigan Construction Safety Day will be held Tuesday, Jan. 30 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center in East Lansing.
    • The Michigan Construction Safety Day program in Livonia will take place Thursday, Feb. 1, 2007 from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at VistaTech/Schoolcraft College.
    • The 6th Annual Upper Peninsula Michigan Construction Day will be held Wednesday, Feb. 21, 2007 at the University Center on the campus of Northern Michigan University, Marquette, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

    Attendees will take part in four of ten key safety-training sessions offered during the day. Topics include: Rigging Safety, Health Dangers on a Construction Site, Guidelines for a MIOSHA Inspection & Common Violations Cited, Fall Protection, Asbestos Awareness, Masonry Wall Bracing, Effective Tool Box Talks, Avoiding Electrocution, Excavation Safety: Dirt Safety, and Implementation of an Effective Company Safety Program.

    The conference also offers an opportunity for safety professionals to talk with vendors, inspect safety equipment and see demonstrations of the newest safety devices at vendor exhibit booths. The booths will be open for viewing from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

    The Michigan Construction Safety Day is sponsored exclusively for Michigan's construction industry employees by the Michigan Association of Constructors (now in transition from the Michigan Chapter Associated General Contractors), the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Growth, and the Michigan Occupational Safety & Health Administration.

    Bob Pawlowski, Director, Construction Safety & Health Division MIOSHA, will give his annual State of the Industry address during the program.

    The cost to attend the program is $100 per attendee when registering on-line at www.constructionsafetyday.com. There is a discount for registering five or more from the same firm. To mail in or fax your registration the cost is $110 per person.

    Questions about all three programs can be directed to either Pete Anderson, Safety Director with the Michigan Chapter Associated General Contractors, (517) 371-1550/ e-mail petea@mi.agc.org; or Rick Mee, Safety Director with the Greater Detroit Chapter Associated General Contractors, (248) 948-7000/ email rmee@agcdetroit.com.

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    News Briefs

    Overall 5% hike expected for wages
    Wages for U.S. building trades workers are projected to increase 5 percent in 2007, an increase from 4.6 percent in 2006 and 4 percent in 2005.

    The information, gathered by Personnel Administration Services (PAS), was reported by the Construction Labor Report. The PAS report cautioned, however, that due to the slump in housing industry construction, construction worker wages will vary widely across the country.

    Construction costs outpace inflation
    WASHINGTON, D.C. - A dip in construction material prices in November is not a trend expected to continue into 2007.

    "Construction materials costs took a pleasing plunge in November, while other producer prices rose," said Ken Simonson, chief economist for The Associated General Contractors of America (AGC), commenting on the Dec. 19 producer price index (PPI) report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics. "But the next 12 months are still likely to show higher costs for construction than for the economy as a whole."

    Simonson said the index for construction materials and components dropped half a percent in November, even as the overall PPI for finished goods climbed 0.8 percent. To compare, over the last 12 months, construction costs have jumped five percent, vs. two percent for the consumer price index and a skimpy 0.9 percent for the finished-goods PPI.

    The retreat in construction costs included declines for diesel fuel and asphalt, plastic construction products, lumber and plywood, gypsum products and steel and copper products. But there were continuing increases in the prices of most concrete products, brick, and aluminum mill shapes. Lower U.S. residential construction will maintain downward pressure of gypsum and wood prices, but Simonson said as long as demand in industrializing nations continues, "construction is likely to face higher costs for materials that depend on world markets."

    Goodyear strikers making tires again
    More than 15,000 striking United Steelworkers members have reached a tentative agreement with Goodyear after a labor dispute that lasted nearly three months.

    The workers had been on strike in a fight "for good U.S. jobs with good benefits promised by the company," according to the AFL-CIO.

    "On behalf of 15,000 brave workers who courageously battled to last one day longer than the company, their families and more than 30,000 Goodyear retirees and surviving spouses, allow me to thank everybody who contributed to this victory," said United Steel Workers (USW) President Leo W. Gerard. "As we said from the beginning, this contract campaign went far beyond a labor-management dispute. It was a battle to make a
    company live up to its commitments to past and current employees, and to secure a future for manufacturing in North America. While no settlement is ever perfect, we all deserve congratulations in successfully working together to resolve the critical issues that confronted us when the bargaining process began."

    The agreement with Goodyear:

    • Establishes an innovative company-financed trust of more than $1 billion that will secure medical and prescription drug benefits for current and future retirees.
    • Enhances the ability of USW-represented plants to meet the challenges of global competition by having Goodyear triple its capital investments to at least $550 million in those unionized plants.
    • Maintains affordable, high-quality medical and prescription drug coverage for active members and retirees.
    • Requires Goodyear to rescind its demand for immediate closure of its Tyler, Texas, plant and instead provide for a one-year period of transition during which workers will have the opportunity to take advantage of sizeable retirement buyouts.

    Goodyear sought to close the Tyler plant - its third plant closure in four years - despite making nearly $500 million in profit last year.

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