The union said it would have 200 striking workers back on the job ”within hours” if Goodyear would simply fire the temporary workers it had hired to run the plant. Goodyear refused, stating that it was meeting the military’s tire needs.
Goodyear produces military-grade Humvee tires at the Topeka plant, but supplies of the tires for the Iraq conflict have reportedly been running low. On Dec. 13, the Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-CA), chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, sent a letter to Goodyear officials asking that 200 striking Steelworkers be allowed to return to work to produce the needed tires.
“We have long recognized this potential problem and have made a number of offers to the company to work collectively to solve it,” said Tom Conway, USW International vice president. “We have family members fighting in Iraq, so we want to do everything necessary to ensure their safety. That’s why we have time and time again offered our help so that the company can meet the needs of our fighting men and women."