Kelly Springfield Union Workers Reach Tentative Agreement With Goodyear

Kelly Springfield employees in Tyler got the word Wednesday afternoon the company's union, United Steelworkers and parent company, Goodyear, have a tentative three year agreement.

The news means, the more than 1,100 Kelly employees will keep their jobs, if the contract is ratified. It was just last Friday, Goodyear handed the union the latest and what company negotiators said was their final contract proposal. Since then, union members have been going over the contract "thoroughly and around the clock" to ensure Tyler employees were getting the benefits and wages they could accept.

Union leader say they will provide the terms and details of the agreement to Kelly employees very soon. Local union spokesman Ed Moore says Wednesday's news is a relief, especially since there was some question about the Tyler plant even staying alive to see a new three year contract.

"I would just like to thank the community, the news media" says Ed Moore, United Steelworkers of America. "Because I think they played an important role in that decision to keep Tyler as a part of Goodyear."

The contract will now be reviewed by all union plants and then will get a chance to be ratified by the union.

Kelly Springfield is Tyler's 7th largest employer. Tom Mullins with Tyler's Economic Development Council says it was a close call to even keep the plant in town, but says the community came through big, pledging money.

Mullins says that combined with union concessions and management cutting costs helped keep Kelly grounded. But, it's going to take millions to get the plant making larger tires to meet market demand.

The Tyler Economic Development Board has already pledged $200,000 and Mullins says more is on the way to help the Kelly plant upgrade.

"We're working with the city and the county in terms of incentives on their side to be able to convince corporate that we're gonna get new equipment in here," says Tom Mullins. "They're gonna make larger tires, we're going to be able to keep production at a level that is profitable for this plant and that we want to stay open."

Mullins says the community is close to raising $1.5 million for the Tyler plant. Money he says Goodyear is set to partially match. Money well spent according to Mullins who says if the Kelly plant was dissolved it would cost our economy $1 billion annually in terms of goods, purchases, services, payroll and suppliers.

Dana Dixon, reporting