Southwest Oklahoma residents should soundly reject President Trump’s advice to boycott buying tires made by Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.
Trump sent a tweet out Wednesday calling for the boycott after hearing a report that the tire-building giant prohibits employees from wearing “MAGA” or “Blue Lives Matter” attire to work. His tweet said, in part, “Don’t buy GOODYEAR TIRES — They announced a BAN ON MAGA HATS. Get better tires for far less!”
The kerfuffle started after a TV station in Kansas reported that an employee of a Goodyear plant sent them a slide reported to be from a company training presentation which shows acceptable and unacceptable attire. Listed under “unacceptable” attire are “Blue Lives Matter,” “All Lives Matter,” “MAGA attire” and “Political Affiliated Slogans or Material.” Listed under “acceptable” are “Black Lives Matter” and “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender.”
Goodyear later tweeted that the slide did not come from company headquarters in Akron. A message posted by Goodyear says, in part, “… First, the visual in question was not created or distributed by Goodyear corporate, nor was it part of a diversity training class. … We ask that associates refrain from workplace expressions in support of political campaigning for any candidate or political party, as well as similar forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues.”
Lawton is home to a large Goodyear plant and following Trump’s advice would severely cripple Lawton’s economy.
Consider a few of the ways the local Goodyear plant impacts Southwest Oklahoma:
•The plant employs about 3,000 persons. Most of them live in Lawton, but many commute from our sister communities;
•The average wage of those working at Goodyear in Lawton is $62,000 a year;
•Annually, the plant provides total wages and benefits of more than $250 million. The local and state economic benefit of this has been estimated at about $945 million;
•The plant purchases about $38.5 million annually in goods and services from local and regional companies;
•Goodyear has also invested more than $100 million in modernization at the Lawton plant.
Those are just the hard numbers. Goodyear contributes to our community in other ways, such as donating about $500,000 to the local United Way and providing Christmas presents to children every year.
If Americans don’t buy Goodyear tires, as our president suggests, then how many of those 3,000 employees will become unemployed? What will be the economic impact on Southwest Oklahoma of those lost wages? How many businesses that supply goods and services to Goodyear would have to layoff employees or close their doors?
Not everything is political, including buying tires. And not everything you see on the internet is true. We encourage area residents to keep both things in mind.