Our readers write

Our readers write

Posted: Wednesday, February 23, 2011 8:01 pm

To The Editor:
No sooner had the words been spoken, “Union City Goodyear to Close,” when people were weighing in with their opinions. Facebook friends offered their sympathies, while on “topix” all those anonymous people were actually rejoicing. I was appalled at the sheer number of malicious, narrow-minded and hateful people that were blatantly overjoyed to hear the news because in their opinion, all Goodyear employees are lazy snobs and drug addicts that make too much money. Anyone that judges an entire group of people based only on a few are basically showing their ignorance.
Yes, Goodyear has had its share of employees who have made a career of “workman comp injuries,” those who have abused FMLA and those who try to get by with doing as little work as possible. The same can be said for the majority of workplaces in every walk of life. But there are far more employees who are honest, hard-working, dependable and caring people — people that I am proud to know and call my friends, both hourly workers and supervisors. And we are just trying to make a living like all of those who “hate us.” Maybe some of these people are ones that actually got hired at Goodyear, but quit because of the intense heat, cold and physically, draining work.
Then, lo and behold, a man from Humboldt has the solution for saving our jobs. What a shock for us to learn, it’s actually the union that is closing down our plant, that it is the unions that are shaking down corporations for more money and benefits. And this man’s grandfather retired from Goodyear. Maybe this man needs a reality check. We went on strike in 2006 to protect the benefits enjoyed by the retirees. Does the man actually believe the insurance benefits enjoyed by his grandfather were given to him freely by Goodyear? They were negotiated by the union. In other negotiations, we tried to save the jobs of the janitors, yard crew and those in truck maintenance shop. We weren’t asking for more “stuff” we were trying to keep our fellow workers on the job. The comment that “the greed of the union has caused the plant to become unprofitable” is so far off the mark it is laughable. I realize it is human nature to try and place blame, so where does he place the blame for all the local plants that have closed that did not have unions?
If you want to lay blame, how about laying that at the feet of the government that continues to allow corporations to move their facilities overseas, exploiting those workers by paying them 56 cents an hour while you continue to pay full price for their products. The fact is that the Goodyear shareholders wanted to make money; the announcement was made, stock went up, thousands of shares were traded, money was made.
And now for the consequences: 1,990 Goodyear employees and hundreds of others in our region will also lose their jobs. People working in all types of businesses in our area, with a varying pay scale, will be unemployed because of the economic backlash that will come with the closing of our plant. Meanwhile, Akron has to try to figure out where all the tires built in Union City are going to come from, especially since the Union City plant is the only one that has consistently made the ticket. The plant in China is the intended producer of the tires; it is not up and running. The other North American plants can’t meet their ticket and have been unable to build the high-end tires that Union City builds.
As for the union: yes, mistakes have been made by union officials. Presidents have been more concerned with personal gain than what was best for the membership. Wrongs have been done. But, after all is said and done, our union is pro-American, which is more than I can say for the corporations.
I feel sure that several of those in management, upon learning what their severance package would consist of, wished they were in the union.
Kathye Stem
South Fulton

Published in The Messenger 2.23.11

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