A union vote will likely be close on a new three-year contract with the Goodyear Tyre & Rubber Co. that could require unpleasant belt-tightening measures, a United Steelworkers union official told Associated Press (AP).

"This is a tough contract at a tough time," Jim Wansley, president of United Steelworkers of America Local 746L at the Goodyear plant in Tyler, Texas, told AP from Cincinnati, where the tentative contract agreement was reached this week.

"There's absolutely no feeling on anybody's part that this is a sure thing," Wansley reportedly said, adding: "There's no feeling it will be voted down. It's probably pretty close one way or another."

Associated Press noted that union officials said on Wednesday they had reached a tentative agreement with Goodyear on a three-year deal, pending a ratification vote by union locals [branches] in 11 states that could take at least two weeks. The deal came after five months of negotiations and the contract would replace one that expired on April 19, although it has been extended since then by agreement between the union and Goodyear, AP added.

Spokesmen for the union negotiators and Goodyear declined to discuss contract details but a union official in Huntsville, Alabama, said on Thursday that under the deal, Goodyear will close its Dunlop tyre plant in that city, AP said, adding that Kevin Johnsen, a spokesman for Local 915 of the United Steelworkers of America, said the closing would affect 1,050 active workers and 350 more union members who already have been laid off.

Noting that the rubber industry is suffering from worldwide overcapacity and weak demand, AP said Akron-based Goodyear has talked about closing two or three US plants.