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Kelly-Springfield Workers Go Out on Strike

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FAYETTEVILLE — Workers at Fayetteville's Kelly-Springfield tire plant walked off the job at noon Tuesday, joiningGoodyear workers nation-wide who are also on strike.

Kelly-Springfield is the largest private employer in Cumberland Countywith at least 3,000 employees.

Ben Faison has been a plant employee for 21 years and hasnever seen a strike during his tenure. He says he hates to see astrike come, but there are issues at stake.

Sunday, 13,000 United Steel Workers Association members at ninedifferent plants in seven states wenton strike against Goodyear, the parent company of Kelly-Springfield. Amajor issue is the fact that the company wants to hire employees to workcontinuously for seven days. Current employees work a six-day week. Employees with seniority are concerned that they will lose overtimehours as new employees are brought in.

By late afternoon, pickets lined the street leading to the plant andcars jammed the access, drivers honking and shouting. Striking workerTimothy Locklear said the company needs to give like workers give.

Union members have been working without a contract since September,having already rejected to proposals.

The strike will completely shut down the Fayetteville plant. Strikingworkers say they will return to work once an agreement is reached.

A spokesperson for Kelly-Springfield would not comment on the strikeand suggested that union officials also not comment while negotiations arein progress. Evans did, however, issue the following statement."We believe the strike called by the United Steel Workers ofAmerican Local 959 is in violation of the collective bargaining agreementbetween the company and the union. The Kelly-Springfield TireCorporation-Fayetteville plant will be requesting a temporary restrainingorder to end the work stoppage."

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