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Union win – US tyre workers approve USW contract

16 August, 2023Workers at South Korean-owned Kumho Tire have fought hard to join a union in the face of union busting and violations of workers’ rights. Kumho Tire, which supplies tyres for auto companies such as Chrysler, Hyundai and Kia, has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on union-busting consultants in an effort to prevent USW from organizing the tyre plant.

But relentless in fighting for their rights, more than 325 employees at Kumho Tire Georgia, ratified the first labour contract at the tyre facility on 10 August. The vote took place more than two years after the United Steelworkers was certified as the workers' bargaining agent.

“The membership at Kumho Tire fought for years to win the rights and benefits of a fair union contract. Thanks to their solidarity and the hard work of our bargaining committee, they achieved that goal,”

says Tom Conway, USW international president.

The four-year contract is historic as it covers the first tyre workers in the US to join a union in 30 years. The contract provides yearly wage improvements and other pay increases. It also includes additional paid time off, a joint health and safety committee and other workplace protections, all while maintaining quality health care and other benefits.

“The power of solidarity won a fair contract, and we proved that our voices are strongest when we stand together for the benefit of everyone. With the ratified agreement in place, our jobs will be more secure, prosperous and safer than before,”

says USW District 9 director Daniel Flippo.

“When we fight back, we win. The contract agreed at Kumho Tire is the result of how hard the union have fought for their members and their future. We congratulate our brothers and sisters who show that unions do belong in the South and pave the way for increased organizing,”

says IndustriALL rubber director Tom Grinter.