Kumho Georgia workers vote to unionise
Workers Kumho Tire’s Macon, Georgia factory have voted to join the United Steelworkers (USW) union after the final completion of an election last Autumn. According to the USW, workers sought representation to fight “low wages, hazardous working conditions and abusive treatment at Kumho, which ruthlessly harassed and bullied union supporters in an attempt to derail the organizing campaign”.
“These workers voted to unionize even though Kumho tried every underhanded, despicable stunt it possibly could to violate their rights and poison the election results,” noted USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo, who leads Steelworkers in seven southern states and the US Virgin Islands.
In 2017, Kumho workers narrowly lost an initial election. However, according to the USW, Kumho’s conduct was “so egregious that Administrative Law Judge Arthur J. Amchan not only ordered a new election but took the extraordinary step of ordering the company to read workers a list of its numerous labour law violations.”
Alleged COVID-19 safety lapses at Kumho’s Georgia plant
In July, while waiting for results of the unionisation ballot, workers at Kumho Tire in Macon, Georgia alerted health officials of alleged COVID-19 safety issues on-site.
The workers addressed the Macon-Bibb County Board of Health during a public meeting conducted by telephone because of the pandemic. They said Kumho failed to adequately distribute face masks, supply sanitizer or take other such steps.
“The only thing important to them is the tyres,” the union quoted one worker saying, adding: managers “won’t come out on the floor anymore because they don’t want to get it [Covid-19] and take it home to their families.”