Local News

Kelly-Springfield Workers Go Out on Strike

Posted April 22, 1997 12:00 a.m. EDT

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

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

Ben Faison has been a plant employee for 21 years and has never seen a strike during his tenure. He says he hates to see a strike come, but there are issues at stake.

Sunday, 13,000 United Steel Workers Association members at nine different plants in seven states went on strike against Goodyear, the parent company of Kelly-Springfield. A major issue is the fact that the company wants to hire employees to work continuously for seven days. Current employees work a six-day week. Employees with seniority are concerned that they will lose overtime hours as new employees are brought in.

By late afternoon, pickets lined the street leading to the plant and cars jammed the access, drivers honking and shouting. Striking worker Timothy 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. Striking workers say they will return to work once an agreement is reached.

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