LAVERGNE, Tenn. (Feb. 23, 2006) — United Steelworkers (USW) Local 1055, which organizes Bridgestone/Firestone (BFS) workers at its LaVergne truck tire plant, has filed charges with the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). The USW claims the company acted illegally in preventing union members from conducting a voluntary gate collection to help BFS plantation workers in Liberia.
The company unilaterally changed work rules when it forbade the local from taking up the collection, said Local 1055 President Lewis Beck.
A BFS spokesman said the local didn't follow the long-established policy of notifying plant management before it began the collection. “If they'd gone about it the right way, there never would have been a problem,” the spokesman said, adding that the management at the BFS plant in Des Moines, Iowa, approved a collection there for Liberian workers.
The USW press release alleged that BFS workers in Liberia are poorly paid and suffer from unsafe working conditions—accusations the company said are completely inaccurate.