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Goodyear Unions Committed to Revive Global Network

11 September, 2014More than thirty participants representing workers employed by the third largest tire-maker from the United States, Turkey, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Thailand and the Netherlands unanimously decided to re-activate the Goodyear Global Union Network which had been formed in 1999.

The Goodyear Global Network worked over the priorities of exchange of information and experience; support actions in union organizing; improvement of occupational health and safety conditions; and active international solidarity among the participating unions.

In the meantime, Goodyear unions in the Asia Pacific region cooperated through a regional network through a series of physical meetings held in 2000, 2002, 2005 and 2008 over health and safety matters with hazardous materials at plants; industrial accidents and occupational diseases; safety committees –composition, and activities-training.

Hosted by IndustriALL Global Union’s Turkish affiliate Lastik-Is, Rubber, Chemical and Oil Industry Workers’ Union, representing Goodyear workers in two plants located in Izmit and Adapazari, on 4-5 September, the 2014 global union network meeting discussed burning issues related to the tire industry in general and particular matters regarding Goodyear.

“As the first global one in the tire industry, the Goodyear network has played a very important role for international solidarity” said Abdullah Karacan, General President of Lastik-Is. “I do believe that after this meeting each of us will be conducting our day-to-day action in a more effective way”.

According to recent estimations, “the automotive tire market is set to reach close to US$250 billion globally within the next five years”. It is reported that there are between 700 and 800 tire-makers in the world, and probably near 650 in China.

The Izmit meeting endorsed and appreciated IndustriALL Global Union’s key strategies and actions, particularly on trade union networks.  Goodyear unions elaborated global trends in the tire Industry with a particular focus on Goodyear through a global overview of the economic situation, investments and employment.

One important item discussed was the trade union situation in Goodyear operations worldwide. Tom O'Shei and Jim Mason from the United Steelworkers of North America briefed the participants on the collective bargaining process in the US plants since 2006. The Turkish case presented by Lastik-Is attracted attention of the delegates with new gained rights such as complementary public scheme.

The meeting finally discussed a further work plan and how to keep the network functioning with a unanimous decision to revive the structure.

The delegates later visited the Goodyear plant in Izmit, capital of the tire industry in Turkey, and met with factory management, shop stewards and workers after a tour. The plant is nearly one-hundred percent unionized and therefore the union has real power and is because of that totaly accepted by the management. It was a good example, the power of the union is its members.

“IndustriALL Global Union’s strategy in the tire industry is to build global union power through strong networks,” said Kemal Özkan, Assistant General Secretary. “The Goodyear global union network will continue to play an important role in this strategy”.

Goodyear is one of the world's leading tire companies, particularly in North America and Latin America as number one and in Europe as the second largest tire maker. Goodyear employs approximately 69,000 people around the world operating 51 plants in 22 countries. Its major brands are Goodyear, Dunlop Tires, Kelly Tires, Fulda, Sava and Debica.