The United Steelworkers (USW) has said that the announcement by Goodyear Tire & Rubber to build its next plant in Mexico is disappointing but not surprising. Last year, the company announced that it was going to build a new plant in ‘the Americas.’ From day one, it was clear to the union that the phrase was simply a code meaning the plant was destined to be built in Mexico.”USW members at Goodyear have been willing partners and have repeatedly shown their commitment to championing the success of the company,” said USW International President Leo W. Gerard. “Together we worked hard to help turn the company around, and the USW has led the fight to stop a flood of unfairly priced tires from China.”
“Our efforts have significantly contributed to the return to prosperity for the company’s North American operations,” said USW Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson, who heads the union’s rubber and plastics sector. “That makes Goodyear’s decision particularly troubling. Unfortunately, in today’s world of manufacturing and finance, that’s increasingly the decision corporations make. Our trade policies drive our companies to produce outside the United States with Wall Street reaping the benefits.”
The union said that when it became clear that Goodyear was committing to building the plant outside of the country, it began discussions with the company to maximize investments in existing facilities employing USW members here in the United States.
Goodyear noted in its presentations to investors that the new plant they were building was designed to service Goodyear’s growth in all of the Americas, but with demand for Goodyear tires here in the United Statesoutpacing supply, more capacity is needed for the company to be successful and for USW members to have good, family-supportive jobs.
“We have been able in these discussions to secure significant and specific capital improvement and expansion commitments from the company to ensure that existing USW plants continue to be a vital and expanding part of the company’s manufacturing footprint,” said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, who leads the union’s Goodyear bargaining team.
“Additionally our USW facilities will be protected through the next labor agreement cycle, and the opportunity to further grow and expand those facilities will be open for negotiation.”
The USW also said it is in contact with its counterparts in Mexico and is having discussions to insure the company recognizes the rights of workers in Mexico to join a union of their choice without interference from the company.
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed among industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining, plus the service and public sectors.