CHARLOTTE, NC — The United Steelworkers of America (USWA) filed a formal complaint July 19 with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) against Continental Tire North America (CTNA) claiming its plan to end production at its Mayfield, Ky., plant “is illegal and should be halted by the federal government.”
In addition, the union said CTNA decided to close the plant, in part, to discourage workers at its Mt. Vernon, Ill., tire plant from joining the USWA. CTNA officials deny those allegations.
Asked to comment on the USWA’s allegations, a CTNA spokesperson said in a written statement: “We received the charge and are evaluating the allegations and will respond at a later point.”
USWA claims to have “highly sensitive internal company documents which clearly show CTNA’s anti-union motives and plans, including plans to manipulate company financial statements and abuse bankruptcy laws to abandon its workers, retirees and communities.” USWA officials said they would provide those documents to the NLRB “and other appropriate law enforcement agencies.”
CTNA announced June 29 that except for rubber mixing and warehouse operations, all tire production at the troubled Mayfield plant would cease no later than Dec. 31, a move that would eliminate 827 hourly and salary jobs there. That announcement came just two days before a previously announced reduction of 200 workers and 3,600 tires per day was to take effect. Last October, CTNA cut 200 workers and 3,000 tires per day from Mayfield production.
“We are pursuing this charge to save the jobs of the members we represent at Mayfield because that is what a Union does – it protects employees’ rights and jobs, using all legal avenues available,” said USWA District 8 Director Billy Thompson. “We refuse to let Continental try to get away with its ‘run away shop’ scheme.”
When CTNA announced it was shuttering Mayfield tire production, Martien de Louw, CTNA president and CEO, said, “This was not an easy decision, as we have been weighing our options at Mayfield for some time. We must remain cost-competitive in the market and our industry. Unfortunately this was our only option, as Mayfield remains the highest cost plant for Continental.”
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