AKRON (Nov. 29, 2006) — Goodyear said today an independent auditor found the tire maker to be in full compliance with its quality standards as the striking United Steelworkers (USW) has started a campaign charging Goodyear's use of replacement workers has hurt tire safety.
Goodyear said NSF Industrial Strategic Registrations conducted full audits at three facilities affected by the strike—Buffalo, N.Y., Danville, Va., and Fayetteville, N.C.—between Oct. 9 and Nov. 8. The union called the strike at 16 North American plants on Oct. 5.
The tire maker said the audits found the company's systems to be in 100-percent compliance to international quality systems standards.
“As we have always said, Goodyear will never compromise quality,” said Joe Gingo, Goodyear's chief quality officer. “We fully expected to meet the international quality standard as usual, and we are pleased with—though not surprised by—the result.”
The USW started what it calls a “public awareness” campaign against the Akron tire maker, condemning the company's use of replacement workers, criticizing its borrowing of money to offset costs during the strike and attempting to poke holes in Goodyear's financial disclosures, including its Nov. 9 third quarter report.
The union started the campaign with demonstrations at area tire stores in selected cities during the weekend of Nov. 18-19, passing out handbills abut potential tire safety problems associated with plants using replacement workers.
The USW's strategy of making public its concerns also includes radio and television advertisements, which ran over the past week, a spokesman said.
The union also launched a video attack ad against the tire maker on the YouTube Web site. In the video, the union shows a series of black-and-white photos of auto accidents. Then, as a sport-utility vehicle flips over and flies through the air, an on-screen question appears: “What tires do you plan to buy?”
The ad campaign is attempting to link Goodyear's decision to hire replacement workers to a Princeton University study that has linked labor strife—including the use of replacement workers—with the production of defective tires. The study examines the causes of the Bridgestone/Firestone and Ford Motor Co. recall of 14.4 million tires in 2000.
Goodyear said the audit had been scheduled before the strike, and it will conduct continuous auditing every six months, regardless of the strike's status.
Formal talks between the company and union broke off Nov. 17 after only three days.