Stand With the United Steelworkers
by jrb1968, Wed Dec 13, 2006 at 01:59:58 PM EST
Cross-posted from Blue Jersey
For working families, to be on strike is scary and exhausting under any circumstances. It is even harder during the holidays -- especially for parents who want to give their kids the best memories they possibly can. But sometimes working people have to do what working people have to do, and the employees of Goodyear tires are doing just that.
And that's why I'm standing in solidarity with the United Steelworkers (USW) this Saturday for a National Day of Action, where we and others will hand out leaflets at 127 stores across the country that sell Goodyear tires.
The Dec. 16 action will highlight the key issues in the strike, issues that matter to every working person: retirement benefits and job security. Some 15,000 USW members were forced out on strike Oct. 5 after the company refused to budge on its demand to close its Tyler, Texas, plant. In addition, Goodyear wants to abandon its obligation to provide health care benefits for retirees by making a one-time payment to a fund that would provide inferior benefits.There are five places to take action in New Jersey: here and here in Cherry Hill, Edison, Englewood, and Paramus. If you're not from Jersey, find an event near you.
The action also will point out how workers came to Goodyear's aid several years ago by taking wage and benefit freezes when the company experienced financial hardship. Now that Goodyear is making a profit, Goodyear is walking away from its promises of job-never mind the company achieved profitability in part through workers' givebacks.
The Tyler closing, affecting 1,100 workers, would be Goodyear's third U.S. plant to shut down in four years. At the same time, the giant tire maker is increasing tire imports from factories in countries such as China that pay workers 42 cents an hour. In the past two years alone, Goodyear has invested $18 million in a plant in China and is increasing production there to 5.3 million tires a year.
Amid all the hustle and bustle of the season, do something small to espouse good will toward working families.