Outgoing House Armed Services Committee Chairman Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., is urging Goodyear and the United Steelworkers (USW) to allow 200 striking workers at Goodyear's Topeka, Kan., plant to return to work immediately to produce tires for the U.S. military.
The Topeka plant, Rep. Hunter said, is the only supplier of military Humvee tires to the armed forces, and the loss of those tires could endanger the men and women fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. According to Rep. Hunter's office, the Topeka facility produces about 250,000 Humvee tires for the military annually.
Goodyear declined to confirm any production numbers at Topeka, but in a prepared statement the company said it is exploring every viable option to increase production at the plant to meet the military's needs.
``We have continued to manufacture high-quality tires for the military as a priority in Topeka, utilizing both salaried workers and temporary hires,'' Goodyear said.
In a statement, the union said it is willing to make needed tires for the military. ``We clearly understand the needs of our soldiers,'' said Robert Tripp, president of USW Local 307 in Topeka. The union said it offered to send a crew of 200 tire builders to the plant if Goodyear dismissed the temporary workers there, but the USW said the company declined.