AKRON, Ohio — Dozens of Goodyear tire employees gathered Thursday to rally in response to President Donald Trump’s call to boycott Akron’s fourth-largest employer after an image circulated of a reported policy asking employees not to wear any political attire, including MAGA gear, to the workplace.
Goodyear employees, past and present, showed up with signs in hand.
Speeches from politicians and city leaders got heated as many called the boycott on Goodyear an attack on the working men and women who live in and around Akron.
Tavia Galonski, who represents the 35th District, which consists of Akron and Barberton, said Trump’s attack against union workers was personal as a daughter of a United Auto Worker.
“Donald Trump suggested a boycott of Goodyear. That struck me right to my core. I am not going to stand for it when you come for union workers and that’s what he did yesterday," she said in front of dozens of workers.
She added, "Goodyear has been maintaining good jobs for workers 122 years and it won’t end because Donald Trump decided to come for us."
Bill Connor, sub-district 2 Director for United Steelworkers Local 2, said Trump's attack should scare every working man and woman in America.
“Yesterday was a day in American history the was very sad. It was a day, the president of the United States called a boycott on an American Company, on American workers, both blue-collar and white. He did this based on the information he received without checking its accuracy.“
House Democratic Leader Emilia Strong Sykes said the attack from Trump wasn’t only on the workers of Goodyear but the entire community who made it the Rubber City it is today.
"We are not going to let someone come and tweet irresponsibly about what is and isn’t the truth. Taking away good-paying jobs, 3,300 jobs in this community away, taking money out of people’s pockets, food out of children’s mouths because he [Trump] had a temper tantrum. That is not going to happen in Akron."
Akron Mayor Dan Horrigan said his city won’t take the attack from Trump lying down, calling Trump’s comments to boycott Goodyear “reprehensible language.”
“When you come after Goodyear, you’re coming after Akron," he said.
After the rally, Horrigan continued to show his ire towards Trump as he spoke with reporters.
"We every day, throughout all of our careers, have fought for workers and especially the ones who work right here. We've got to fight him on that too? To me that's absolute S***," Horrigan said.
Vickie Uhl, an employee of Goodyear for nine years, carried a sign that read "I Stand with Goodyear."
"Boycotting an American-owned company just hurts all of us hard workers. In this area, all of our families have somebody that has worked at Goodyear," Uhl said.
After Trump tweeted an attack on the Akron tiremaker, Goodyear released a statement addressing the misconceptions about its policies and company. The company said the widely circulated image was not part of any diversity training class.
"We ask 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."
Summit County Executive Illene Shapiro said when Trump challenges Goodyear, it challenges the other businesses in the community.
"Goodyear has always represented people of all races, all religions. It’s about moving our economy forward and making good-paying jobs for people, No across the globe with 60,00 people depend on Goodyear and the future of our economy, our president has chosen to talk about a boycott. Really? A boycott? Not in Akron. Not in Summit County."
Goodyear responded to anyone who believed it's anti-police, saying "nothing could be further from the truth, and we have the utmost appreciation for the vital work police do on behalf of our shared communities. This can't be said strongly enough."