Four weeks into their strike against Goodyear Tire and Rubber Co., United Steelworkers has yet to reach a resolution in ongoing contract negotiations, affecting 2,250 Goodyear employees at their Union City, Tenn. plant.
The USW workers of Union City joined the efforts of the national union by striking alongside the greater part of 15,000 other workers across the United States and Canada. The strike was called nationwide to protest the closing of two plants in Tyler, Texas and Gadsden, Ala. However, as of yesterday, Goodyear closed down the Tyler, Texas plant despite the efforts of the ongoing strike.
Union leader Glen Carter, Union City resident, feels confident that the union workers will pull though.
“We are sticking pretty tight out here. No one has quit, and only a few people have retired who were already planning on retiring,” said Carter.
Tim Moore, USW member and employee at the Union City plant, paints a different story.
“Morale here with the employees is pretty low,” Moore said, who feels uninformed and disillusioned by the USW union.
“I have called the union hall and also went down there and they have pretty much kept me in the dark, but they have got guys out here striking. They need to do something.”
Union City USW members are walking picket lines at the three main entrances of the Goodyear plant. Workers have been put on a schedule which includes a four-hour shift out on the picket line. The strikers will not receive pay until the strike ends. However, beginning next week, the workers will receive a small stipend from the striker’s assistance fund.
The fund comes from the USW and includes a $100 stipend, a $25 gas card to a local gas station and a $75 food card at E.W. James & Sons.
For many workers on strike, this small bit of assistance is simply not enough, especially with the holidays right around the corner. Employees are seeking part-time jobs in order to relieve the financial burden caused by the strike.
“We can’t buy gifts, we can’t have family gatherings and we can’t go anywhere,“ said Moore, who also questions the decision of the union to strike so close to the major holiday season.
Since the strike there have been no new negotiations between the USW and Goodyear. At press time Monday the only Goodyear official who is allowed to comment on the strike was unavailable for comment. There is no foreseeable end in sight for the employees on strike across the nation.