Akron politicians, workers rally in support of Goodyear

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AKRON, Ohio (WJW)– Politicians and workers rallied in support of the Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company following President Donald Trump‘s calls to boycott the Akron-based manufacturer.

The rally at United Steelworkers Local 2 on Kelly Avenue in Akron was attended by U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Niles), Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan, Ohio House Minority Leader Emilia Sykes (D-Akron) and State Rep. Tavia Galonski (D-Akron).

“Folks, this is the city that rubber built,” Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro said. “Goodyear has always represented people of all kinds, of all races, of all religions. It’s about moving our economy forward and making good-paying jobs for people.”

“They have been a pillar for everybody for years. And the President talks about a boycott? No way,” Shapiro said. “Goodyear brings hundreds of millions of dollars, not only to Akron and Summit County, but to the state of Ohio.”

The President urged people not to buy tires from Goodyear in a tweet Wednesday morning, citing an alleged policy banning “Make America Great Again” hats. He continued to express his displeasure with the company during a White House news conference, where he called the policy “disgraceful.”

“I’m not happy with Goodyear because what they’re doing is playing politics. The funny thing is the people that work for Goodyear, I can guarantee I poll very well with all of those great workers in Goodyear,” Trump said.

It stemmed from a training session at a Topeka, Kansas plant. In audio from the training program obtained by WIBW a person said, “Democrat. Republican. Trump. Biden. Sanders. Whatever. That will no longer be allowed in the plant.”

“Some people may wish to express their views on social justice or inequity or equity issues such as Black Lives Matter or LGBTQ pride on their face coverings, shirts or wristbands. That will be deemed approved because it applies with a zero-tolerance stance,” the speaker said during the meeting. “However if any associate wears all, blue, white lives matter shirts or face coverings, that will be not appropriate.”

The training slides were widely circulated on social media. In a statement from Goodyear, the company said the visual was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, and was not part of a diversity training class.

“To be clear on our longstanding corporate policy, Goodyear has zero tolerance for any forms of harassment or discrimination,” the company said in a statement on Wednesday.

The company said it asks employees not to engage in any kind of political campaigning in the workplace, in order to create an inclusive and respectful environment. It went on to express support for both equality and law enforcement.

Goodyear employs about 63,000 people.

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