PITTSBURGH—The United Steelworkers said it is “disappointing, but not surprising” that Goodyear decided to build its next tire plant in San Luis Potosi, Mexico, in a statement released April 24.
“USW members at Goodyear have been willing partners and have repeatedly shown their commitment to championing the success of the company,” USW International President Leo W. Gerard said in a statement. “Together we worked hard to help turn the company around, and the USW has led the fight to stop a flood of unfairly priced tires from China.”
The USW said when it became clear Goodyear was going to build its plant outside of the U.S., the union began discussions with the company to maximize investments in existing facilities employing USW members here in the U.S.
“Our efforts have significantly contributed to the return to prosperity for the company's North American operations,” USW Secretary-Treasurer Stan Johnson, who also heads the union's rubber and plastics sector, said in a statement. “That makes Goodyear's decision particularly troubling. Unfortunately, in today's world of manufacturing and finance, that's increasingly the decision corporations make. Our trade policies drive our companies to produce outside the United States with Wall Street reaping the benefits.”
Goodyear said its Mexico plant is projected to open in 2017 and will serve all of the Americas, including the U.S. and Latin America. The USW said demand for Goodyear tires in the U.S. is outpacing supply and more capacity is needed for the firm to be successful and for USW members to have “good, family-supportive jobs.”
“We have been able in these discussions to secure significant and specific capital improvement and expansion commitments from the company to ensure that existing USW plants continue to be a vital and expanding part of the company's manufacturing footprint,” Tom Conway, USW international vice president who leads the union's Goodyear bargaining team, said in a statement.
“Additionally our USW facilities will be protected through the next labor agreement cycle, and the opportunity to further grow and expand those facilities will be open for negotiation.”
The USW said it is in contact with its counterparts in Mexico and is having discussions to insure the company recognizes the rights of workers in Mexico to join a union of their choice without interference from the company.
The USW represents 850,000 workers in North America employed among industries that include metals, rubber, chemicals, paper, oil refining and the service and public sectors.