Tim Newman, Campaigns Assistant, International Labor Rights Forum
Last Thursday, July 26th, was Liberia's Independence Day, but workers on Firestone's rubber plantation in Liberia are still struggling for independence from abuse and exploitation. That is why the Stop Firestone Coalition sponsored a National Call-In Day to Firestone Natural Rubber Company headquarters. Hundreds of concerned consumers from all across the country called Firestone Natural Rubber Company CEO Dan Adomitis to tell him to:
1) Respect worker's rights, stop child labor and negotiate with the new union leadership;
2) Improve the quality of living and working conditions for workers;
3) Stop destroying the environment and redress past damage;
4) Stop the secrecy and fully disclose all Firestone agreements in Liberia.
Firestone was definitely paying attention! Keep reading to find out more about their reaction.
ILRF circulated two phone numbers for Firestone to our e-mail action list on the morning of the 26th. The first goes directly to Adomitis' voicemail and the second is the general phone number for the Firestone Natural Rubber Company. When Stop Firestone supporters called during noon and 2pm for the call-in day, they were greeted by a pre-recorded voicemail filled with Firestone's usual propaganda about how much they are helping Liberia. Adomitis got quite an earful from all of our callers about how they will not give up until all the demands are met.
Later in the day, the coalition sponsored an event at the Institute for Policy Studies to tell supporters in Washington DC about the latest updates in the campaign. The campaign to hold Firestone accountable for its labor and environmental abuses is making progress on a number of fronts. In June, the judge in the lawsuit against Firestone ruled that the charges of child labor could move forward. You can learn more and read the decision here. In the beginning of July, the Firestone workers also elected the first ever democratic and independent union leadership in Firestone's 81 year history in Liberia! Read more on the AFL-CIO blog here!
**DID YOU MISS THE CALL-IN DAY? It is never too late to tell Firestone that you stand for justice for workers! You can still call Firestone using the phone numbers and script available online here.
If you live in the DC area, you can attend a brown bag discussion with international observers from the union elections TOMORROW (July 31st) at the AFL-CIO. Details are available here.
NOTE: The photo in this entry is courtesy of Ryo Murakami, who is working on a film about Firestone for Flatbush Pictures. Check out the website here and consider donating to help support this important feature-length film!
THANKS TO EVERYONE WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE CALL-IN DAY!