Conti Sponsorship Criticised By USW
Retirees and former employees of Continental Tires’ Charlotte facility will again join University of North Carolina (UNC) students to protest the company’s sponsorship of UNC athletics in front of the Dean Dome during the basketball game against Duke on 4 March.
Last September, Continental Tire’s marketing director Travis Roffler said that the sponsorship of the UNC athletics program demonstrates the company’s “commitment to the Carolinas, our dealers and their communities.” By July the company laid off over hundreds of Charlotte workers, exported their jobs and implemented a retiree health care plan requiring participants to pay up to $1600 per month in premiums.
“If a company is committed to the Carolinas, it shouldn’t take-away jobs and push retirees into poverty,” said Mark Cieslikowski, president of USW Local 850, the union that represents Continental’s Charlotte workers and retirees. “Causing hardship to the elderly is plain shameful.”
The USW believes that Continental continues to misrepresent itself and uses the UNC Tarheels to promote a false public image on the backs of its current and past employees. It has repeatedly encouraged UNC to disassociate itself with Continental Tire and seek a reputable sponsor.
“To date, that has not happened,” said Cieslikowski.