Solidarity tour helps keep negotiators in touch with rank-and-file

Dec. 11, 2006

Members of the United Steelworkers (USW) union's bargaining team concluded a week-long "solidarity" tour of Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.'s union plants across the United States.

The tour enabled more than 10,000 rank-and-file members at 11 locations to directly address their negotiators regarding the 10-week strike of Goodyear.

"Our members clearly understand what's at stake for them, and they demonstrated their commitment to win this fight," says Tom Conway, USW International vice president. "The company talks about hundreds who have crossed, but neglect to mention the more than 15,000 that remain solid and committed to lasting one day longer than Goodyear."

Ron Hoover, USW executive vice president, says it is also obvious that the company is producing very little without its union members.

According to the union, Goodyear's Fayetteville, N.C., plant, for example, has hundreds of supervisors and replacement workers in the plant along with approximately 300 cross-overs -- two-thirds of which were not union members to begin with. More than 97% of USW members remain on strike.

"There are half the number of workers now as opposed to pre-strike, and the plant is lucky if it's producing one-sixth of its pre-strike numbers," says Kevin Johnsen, the USW-Goodyear contract coordinator. "Fayetteville typically makes 50-54,000 tires per day. Now it's about 8,000."

According to Modern Tire Dealer's 2006 Facts Issue, the Fayetteville plant has the capacity to produce 59,000 tires a day.