URW won't rubber-stamp auto concessions

The B.F. Goodrich Company and the United Rubber Workers have reached a tentative labor contract that stretches labor's pattern of moderation into the rubber industry.

But the April 19 agreement, the first to be reached without a rubber industry strike since 1965, is more of a hold-the-line settlement than the new contracts for auto unionists, who gave cost-saving concessions in return for added job security.

The URW agreement is expected to be a model for others in the industry.

URW agreed to forego regular wage increases during the three-year contract, but will continue to get cost-of-living adjustments. Negotiators estimate that Goodrich workers could get up to 22.5 percent in added pay and benefits if today's inflation rate holds steady through 1985.

URW's Goodrich unionists must ratify the tentative pact. Some of the 8,700 who are covered are reported to be unhappy with the freeze of regular wages accepted by their negotiators to help Goodrich combat competition from abroad.

The URW held the line on economic issues despite Goodrich efforts to win givebacks similar to those in Ford and General Motors contracts, but the union won no major economic gains.

Negotiations now will be resumed with Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company, Firestone Tire & Rubber Company, and Uniroyal Inc., employers of an additional 30,800 hourly workers.

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