Former union boss tells UC associates: Keep working hard

Former union boss tells UC associates: Keep working hard

Posted: Thursday, February 17, 2011 9:00 pm
By: Kevin Bowden, Staff Reporter

By KEVIN BOWDEN Staff Reporter Mike Stanley’s name and reputation are very familiar to the workers at the Union City Goodyear plant. So when he speaks about last week’s announcement by Goodyear that it will be shutting down the local plant by the end of this year, people listen. Stanley retired after a 30-year career with Goodyear. He served as the international vice president of the United Rubber Workers from 1990-96. Prior to that, he served as the local union president from 1983 until 1990 and was vice president from 1980 until 1983. He actually worked in the plant from 1970 until 1990. During his service with the local and international unions, he was one of the local plant’s strongest advocates. “Like everyone else that got the bad news about Goodyear announcing our plant would close, I felt like the wind just got knocked out of me,” Stanley told The Messenger today of the text message he received shortly after the announcement was made. “After a moment or so, I thought, ‘Wait a minute, we didn’t make the decision to close it, so it’s up to all of us, collectively, to fight to keep it open.’” He has been conveying the message to local plant workers that it must be business as usual for the plant and its employees. He is also encouraging workers at the local Goodyear plant to keep doing what they have always done the best — “And that is continue to be world class employees, at a world class plant, producing world class tires.” “While the announcement is to be taken seriously, it doesn’t mean we give up.” said Stanley, who retired in 2006 as special assistant to the Steelworkers international president. “We have never viewed failure as one of the options in our tool box.” He said the local union leadership is in the process of conducting informational meetings with the membership and he said he believes it’s very important to allow that process to proceed as often as deemed necessary. “Everyone should understand, the plant closure for Goodyear-Union City is something we were not prepared for. It is not what we’ve been trained to do,” Stanley said. “No one person will have all the answers. The process will take some time.”
He said he still takes great pride in his 30 years as a Goodyear employee prior to his retirement in 2000. He explained his current role in working with the local union leadership and union membership is “to give all the support I can.”
“Any positive contribution I can make or have in support of our plant, our friends and families in the area communities of Tennessee and Kentucky, I will do all I can. Union City will always be home and the people of Union City will always be important to me and my family,” he said.
Stanley went on to express his confidence in United Steel Workers Local 878 president Ricky Waggoner and the local union leadership team and said he believes they will provide the best possible leadership in the tough days ahead. “I am also confident that current plant manager Terry Tennyson has the best interests of the Union City Goodyear plant at heart and has worked with Waggoner to do all that was possible to keep the plant open,” he said.

Published in The Messenger 2.17.11

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