August 18, 2016
By WNYLaborToday.com Editor-Publisher Tom Campbell
Tonawanda, NY – Lost in the hoopla of a recent and major announcement involving Sumitomo Rubber USA investing $87 million to increase the production capacity of United Steelworkers (USW)-represented Dunlop Tire in Tonawanda was the fact that without a number of hard decisions that were made by the Union and management through five ownership changes at the Buffalo-area plant, there would have been nothing to invest in.
In a sit-down interview with WNYLaborToday.com last week, USW Local 135 President Tom O’Shei and Tim Noe – who serves as Senior Vice President of Manufacturing at the local facility, told Your On-Line Labor Newspaper the tire production plant would have never survived over the years to get to this point without the Union and management working together.
“Since the early 1980s, ownership has changed here five times,” Noe said. “In my perspective, over the course of time, we ‘had to make a lot of changes’ and the Union needed to make some ‘tough choices.’ (The choices) ‘were not pleasant,’ but we ‘worked together’ to ‘do what we needed to do.’ Without (that kind of Labor-management relationship), this (Sumitomo coming back and making such an investment in the plant) ‘would not have happened.’”
The 93-year-old Tonawanda plant – which first began making tires in 1923 and is believed to be one of Western New York’s largest manufacturers – produces a variety of tires, ranging from passenger car and light truck tires, tires for SUVs, as well as for buses and motorcycles.
Formerly known as Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America, the facility changed its name earlier this year after the dissolution of a joint venture between Goodyear and Sumitomo in late 2015. That’s when Sumitomo came back for a second go around (it had owned the plant in the 80s when it began investing an overall $300 million into the local facility that ran into the early 90s) when it took full ownership of Goodyear Dunlop Tires North America. To read more click on the following link