Tim Newman, Campaigns Assistant, International Labor Rights Forum
The National Football League (NFL) and Bridgestone Firestone North American Tire recently signed a multi-year integrated marketing partnership, making Bridgestone/Firestone the official tire of the NFL. The partnership was launched on October 28th at the Bridgestone International Series NFL game played at London's Wembley Stadium. Today, it was announced that Bridgestone would be the sponsor of the NFL SuperBowl halftime shows for 2008 and 2009.
But why would the NFL wanted to be associated with the Worst Global Corporation which has been responsible for the use of child labor, abuse of workers' rights and the destruction of the
environment in Liberia?
The International Labor Rights Forum sent a letter to the NFL requesting more information on the NFL's decision and asking for a meeting, but the NFL's response showed a lack of interest in their marketing partner's abusive practices in Liberia. As the NFL says, "Bridgestone Americas has assured us that it remains committed to improving the lives of its workers and their communities in Liberia and is an important force for progress in the country's rebuilding efforts."
Hmmm... We think that if the NFL talked with the Firestone workers in Liberia or the communities effected by Firestone's policy of dumping toxic chemicals in their rivers, they would get a different account. Check out the Stop Firestone campaign videos or this excellent photo essay to see what Firestone is really doing in Liberia.
It looks like the NFL is up to some foul play when it comes to their support for Bridgestone/Firestone's abuses in Liberia. Plus, right now, Firestone management is refusing to meet with union leaders who were recently elected in the first free, fair and democratic union elections ever held on the plantation. More information on the union situation here. That is why we need you to take action! Tomorrow, ILRF and other Stop Firestone coalition organizations will send out a new e-mail action to support the Firestone workers and this Saturday, we are calling for people to deliver letters to their local Firestone Complete Auto Care store. Sign up and find out more information here!