USW Files Complaint With State Department Against Continental
(Akron/Tire Review) The United Steelworkers (USW) has filed a complaint with the US State Department against German tyre and auto system maker Continental AG, alleging breaches of the Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
The OECD Guidelines are non-binding principles and standards for responsible business conduct, including industrial relations, by multinational enterprises that are agreed to by 30 OECD member countries plus nine non-member countries. The US State Department serves as the “national contact point” to help mediate disputes in the US arising out of breaches of the Guidelines by companies headquartered in another country.
On 2 August, Leo W. Gerard, USW International president, sent a letter to Wesley Schotz, director of the State Department’s Office on Investment Affairs, that outlined labor practices taken by Continental since its acquisition of General Tire in 1987 that the union characterized as “hostile.”
At the center of the compliant is Continental Tire North America’s demand for $32 million in concessions from USW-represented workers at its tyre plant in Charlotte, N.C. A complaint has already been filed with the National Labor Relations Board, and a trial is set for 22 August.
“The full force of the US Government should be brought to bear on this matter,” said Gerard in his letter to Schotz.