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Union says hiring former Continental workers is not likely; Goodyear says some already have signed on

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The United Steelworkers union, in response to help wanted ads for plant workers placed in several North Carolina newspapers by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co., says the company will have trouble hiring former Continental Tire North America Inc. (CTNA) tire builders to staff its Danville, Va., plant.

The union says the only experienced tire builders in the region formerly worked at CTNA's Charlotte facility, which closed earlier this year. More than 1,000 union workers were laid off when tire production there ceased.

"Goodyear is wasting its time and money thinking it can sweet talk members from this local into scabbing," says Mark Cieslikowski, president of USW Local 850, which represents the workers. "Our members held strong when (CTNA workers) were on strike (in Charlotte) for a full year in 1998.

"Out of 1,400 members, only 11 crossed the picket line. Goodyear should be using that money and effort to negotiate a fair contract with its regular workforce."

According to the union, potential replacement workers are being recruited for Goodyear's Danville plant.

Local 850 members and supporters have been hand billing and visiting the area to ensure the staffing agency, Modern Staffing & Security Consultants Inc., does not succeed.

A Goodyear spokesman says the company began running help wanted ads for replacement workers in October. "We have already hired multiple former Continental tire builders from Charlotte and Mayfield, Ky."

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