Lots of Rumours, No Movement as Strike Continues
(Akron/Tire Review) There has been more talk than talking as the United Steelworkers’ strike against 16 Goodyear plants reached its sixth day yesterday. Formal talks between the tyremaker and the union have not resumed, and while both sides say they are ready to restart negotiations when the other party is ready, neither side seems to be in a hurry to get back to the bargaining table.
Goodyear is trying to operate the plants on a limited basis under its “contingency plan,” using salaried plant workers. There are rumours floating around that Goodyear is temporarily using workers from its non-union tyre plants – Lawton, Oklahoma, and Napanee, Ontario – to fill in at the struck plants. Those rumours could not be substantiated.
In addition, rumours are flying of union workers crossing the picket lines and returning to work as some Goodyear plants. Those rumours have not been confirmed.
Goodyear faces another issue with receiving deliveries. Union delivery workers, such as Teamsters employed by UPS and others, are not obliged to cross picket lines. Deliveries can be handled by non-union drivers or by using a different delivery site. Goodyear said it took action to assure continuing deliveries of needed supplies.
On another front, both the AFL-CIO and the ICEM has issued a call their memberships to support the USW in the strike.
“We call on our affiliated trade unions to send messages of support to the Steelworkers in North America,” said ICEM General Secretary Fred Higgs. “We also call on trade unions in the rubber industry – particularly at Goodyear plants in Central and South America – to monitor their inventories and production to ensure that they are not undermining the USW’s strike action.”
According to a story in the Akron Beacon Journal, the USW Strike and Defense Fund will operate on a need-based system. How much money is available to assist striking workers, though, is unknown. “That figure comes from International,” a union official told the newspaper. “There will be no direct payments made to union workers,” and the amount given will vary from worker to worker “because everybody’s needs are different.”