Goodyear’s French workers sued the company, claiming it has violated laws of both France and the US when implementing the plan to close the Amiens plant.
On April 9th, the Central Works Council, representing the employees, filed a complaint in state court in Akron, Ohio, asking for damages worth $4 million and class-action status for the case. The workers claim that Goodyear illegally interfered with their relationship with its French unit, therefore violating the Ohio law.
“The laws of France are designed to protect its workers from employers disregarding the impact of their decisions that disrupt the lives of their employees without consulting the proper representatives of their employees,” according to a copy of the complaint obtained from the workers’ lawyers.
Goodyear’s plan to close the plant in France triggered violent protests in Amiens on March 7th, with nineteen police officers being hurt in a clash with stone-throwing employees. The Council alleges that the company failed to offer its 1,173 employees at the plant timely and complete information regarding its plans to close the plant and transfer production somewhere else.
“What’s hard for us as Americans is, Why couldn’t they do this?” said the lead plaintiffs’ lawyer, Robert D. Gary, referring to Goodyear’s cutting production without the possibility of a legal barrier. “It’s a clash of cultures.”