All's fair in love and war, the saying goes. And, apparently, in a labor dispute.
That's the stance the United Steelworkers union is taking in its master contract quarrel with Goodyear. There are no holds barred when you're fighting to save your job, which from the union's view, is a major sticking point in the now-suspended negotiations. The striking Steelworkers are demanding a measure of job security, worried that Goodyear will close plants if nothing contractually prevents it from doing so.
The fact the tire maker already pink-slipped one factory, in Tyler, Texas, since the strike began gives some credence to that fear.
A strike is all about applying pressure on a company. One of the ways the Steelworkers union is doing this is through ads that attack Goodyear's use of replacement workers. A video version is on YouTube, if you want to see it.
The 30-second video, titled ``Are Goodyear Tires Safe?'' declares that ``when a major tire company used replacement workers during a strike, it led to labor strife, and defective tires that helped create the Ford Explorer rollover disaster.
``Now Goodyear is using replacement workers to build its tires. What tires do you plan to buy?''
Did someone say ``hyperbole?''
Yes, Bridgestone/Firestone-the ``major tire company'' of the ``Explorer rollover disaster''-had used replacement workers at a strike-bound plant. But it was too-low inflation-26 psi as recommended by Ford and acquiesced to by BFS-on a vehicle prone to rolling over that was the main reason behind the disaster.
The fact is, replacement workers quite often build tires and anything else produced at a factory that is strike bound, even if ``strikebreakers'' aren't hired. These ``replacement workers'' are managers and other non-union employees drafted into production jobs.
Would a company risk its reputation, risk its relationship with customers, particularly the original equipment auto makers, by providing tires that are unsafe? Can a public relations operative using automated equipment produce a decent tire?
If you think not, then never buy a product made by a company during a strike. Which is just what the Steelworkers would like to happen at this juncture.