CLEVELAND—Goodyear is waiting for the Cleveland federal district court to rule on its motion to dismiss a class action complaint brought by workers at a Goodyear tire facility in Amiens, France, an attorney for Goodyear said.
The class action alleges that Goodyear breached its contract with the union at the Amiens plant—the Comite d'Etablissement d'Amiens Nord—when it reduced consumer tire production there without notifying the union.
Goodyear, however, argues that the union has not proved its case, and furthermore that the lawsuit would more properly be tried in France, where an action has also been filed.
The lawsuit, filed April 9, 2013 in Summit County Common Pleas Court, was moved to the Cleveland court May 14 at Goodyear's request.
According to the class action, Goodyear has reduced consumer tire production at the Amiens North facility by 2.8 million units since 2009 while consumer tire production at other Goodyear plants in Europe rose significantly during these same years.
Once in 2009 and twice again in 2011, the president of the Civil Court of Nanterre found Goodyear in violation of the French Labor Code for not informing workers at Amiens North of its plans, the union said.
"Despite these orders, Defendant intentionally continued to not inform the employee representatives as required under French law," the union said in an Aug. 5 reply to Goodyear's original May 16 motion to dismiss.
The union also accused of entering into an agreement with Titan Tire Corp. in December 2010, in which Goodyear agreed to fire its consumer tire employees at Amiens North as a condition of Titan acquiring the farm tire portion of the plant.
"The plan was a simple one: divide and rule," the union said.
Titan later decided not to buy Goodyear's farm tire business in Amiens, a decision which led to an acrimonious exchange of letters between Maurice "Morry" Taylor, Titan chairman and CEO, and Arnaud Montebourg, French minister of industry.
In an Aug. 29 court filing, however, Goodyear said the union failed to disclose a June 2013 French court decision that the union failed to establish that Goodyear circumvented its French disclosure obligations.
"This lawsuit is part of Plaintiffs' strategy to wage a multi-front war in a desperate attempt to prevent the closure of the Amiens North factory," Goodyear said.
"But logic and common sense dictate that this long-standing dispute between French workers, their French union and their French employer should be adjudicated in France where litigation is already pending, not here."
The union represents 1,173 workers at the Amiens North plant.