Local News

Goodyear Workers, Families Hope End of Strike Is Near

Posted December 27, 2006 11:24 p.m. EST
Updated December 27, 2006 11:59 p.m. EST

— Thousands of Goodyear employees could soon return to work, if union members ratify a proposed contract on Thursday.

United Steelworkers union members from the company's Fayetteville plant met to discuss a proposed contract agreement Wednesday afternoon. Members will decide whether to accept it in Thursday’s vote.

Nearly 2,000 workers have been on strike for the past three months, but the Goodyear employees haven’t been the only ones suffering.

"Well, it's been hard since the strike," said James Hicks.

James, 13, his 10-year old brother Jacob, and their mom came to the picket line Wednesday to support their dad, Robert Hicks. The 16-year Goodyear employee hasn't received a paycheck since walking off the job three months ago.

"We are out here fighting his fight. We're standing out here for what we believe in as a family," said Kim Hicks, Robert's wife.

Union members went on strike in October, after the company tried to cut wages and benefits. No one thought it would last through the holidays.

"We were hoping that we would still have a Christmas," James Hicks said as he stood beside his little brother and parents on the picket line.

But Christmas came and went on the picket line, and the Hicks couldn't even afford to buy their boys Christmas presents.

"They knew before Christmas ever came up that if I didn't go back to work by Thanksgiving, there wasn't going to be any money for Christmas. They understand it," said Robert Hicks.

They may understand it, but that doesn't mean that they don't want it to be over.

"I think it just needs to end and go back to the way it was before the strike ever happened," said Jacob Hicks.

Robert Hicks said that if they vote "no" on the contract tomorrow, he will be prepared to strike for another three months. He said he’ll stay off the job as long as it takes to get a fair contract.

Union members have been receiving a weekly stipend from the union. They have been receiving a little more than $100 a week for food and gas. A fund is also set up to help members pay their electricity bill and rent or mortgage during the strike. The results of the vote should be known by 11 p.m. Thursday.