RICHBURG, S.C. — Giti Tire USA is rejecting assertions made recently that it is mistreating workers at its Richburg tire plant, linking the allegations to a union-membership drive at the site.
In a statement Nov. 30, Giti's Director of Industry Relations David Shelton said the tire maker welcomed "sincere and legitimate" input from its team members and other community members.
But, he added: "As a core principle, Giti Tire works very hard to ensure we have all the facts and accurate information before taking action.
"We certainly hope others will also be diligent in confirming the facts and evaluating items coming from parties outside of our Chester County operations who are providing false and misleading information."
The statement was in response to complaints made Nov. 23 by more than 40 community leaders to Giti Tire Manufacturing (USA) CEO Phang Wai Yeen.
The letter includes claims of "low wages, unpredictable schedules and oppressive amounts of mandatory overtime that leave workers no time for their families," from workers at the plant.
Furthermore, the letter said that Giti "compounded its abuses" by harassing workers who wanted to join unions such as the United Steelworkers (USW).
In his statement, Mr. Shelton also linked the claims to an organized, union-membership drive at the U.S. tire plant.
"People who have been a part of our community, and surrounding communities, know that you can have problems with union representation that can hurt job security and long-term success," he stated.
These, continued the Giti official, "are facts people need to know before even thinking a union is best for them and their families."
Describing the plant's 600 employees as "our most valuable asset," Mr. Shelton concluded that workers "should, be able to communicate directly with us without the need of a third party such as a union."
This is the second time in the past nine months that activists have singled out Giti Tire for scrutiny. In March a non-profit group and the USW published a report criticizing Giti Tire (USA) over its acceptance of millions of dollars in federal COVID-19 relief funds.
Giti Tire Group, the Singapore-headquartered tire company, started production at the $560 million Richburg plant in 2017.