Tim Newman, Campaigns Director, International Labor Rights Forum
Since we launched the action, many of you posted message on the Facebook wall of Bridgestone Tires. When the company they found out, they initially posted a response to each comment directing people to continue the conversation about Firestone's plantation in Liberia on their Facebook discussion board. The company started a discussion directing people to their company website. The new Stop Firestone campaign action focuses specifically on a key demand that workers are calling for. For years, Firestone workers have had to carry buckets weighing 75 pounds each on each end of a stick on their backs for miles, all day for days on end. While most rubber plantation have moved on from this archaic system of work, Firestone continues this exploitation. When campaign supporters wrote on Firestone's Facebook discussion board that they wanted a substantive response on this specific issue, the company promptly shut down the discussion board. Then, when people posted more direct questions and comments about the bucket-carrying issue on Firestone's Facebook wall, the company deleted those comments.
It's clear that Firestone is paying close attention to your messages! However, they clearly refuse to respond to the specific issue of how their workers are forced to carry heavy loads in order to enrich the company. This system of work is unacceptable and needs to end. We must keep up our actions to show solidarity with workers in Liberia. We've come so far in this campaign already, but we need to take this next important step forward.
*UPDATE!* At the end of the day today, Firestone started sending form e-mail replies to people who took action. Firestone claims that: "The work Firestone's agricultural employees do is typical of the work that goes on in the fields and farms across Africa and the rest of the world." This is NOT true. Workers on many rubber plantations around the world use carts, trucks and other forms of transporting buckets of latex that do not require workers to carry them on their backs for miles. This work system is outdated and unacceptable on a plantation owned and operated by the biggest tire company in the world. Conditions on the Firestone plantation in Liberia are below other rubber plantations globally when they should be among the best because they are operated directly by a major corporation. We are calling attention to this issue because it is a major daily burden on workers and it can no longer continue in 2010. Unfortunately, this is pretty much another non-response from Firestone. Their e-mail does not deal substantively with the specific issue we raised in our action alert. We need to keep up the pressure for the company to get the message that we want to see real progress on this specific issue.
Please keep taking action in three ways:
- Send an e-mail to Firestone here;
- If you use Twitter, you can spread the word by posting a Tweet like this: @BridgestoneINFO #Superbowl #Halftime sponsor #Bridgestone #Firestone: Stop exploiting workers in #Liberia! http://bit.ly/8taTuu
- If you are on Facebook, you can post a comment like this on Bridgestone/Firestones fan page (online here: http://www.facebook.com/BridgestoneTires): "Stop exploiting workers in Liberia! http://www.unionvoice.org/campaign/Firestone2010"
Here is another way to take action on Facebook: