FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
JULY 23, 2008
Contact: Tim Newman, tim.newman[at]ilrf.org, 202-347-4100 x113
Martha Guarnieri, Martha[at]ilrf.org
COALITION PROTESTS PUBLIC STRATEGIES IN DC
Protest Targets Public Relations Firm That Helps Firestone Hide Worker Exploitation in Liberia
WASHINGTON, DC – On Wednesday, July 23 from 12 noon to 1:00 pm, members of the Stop Firestone Coalition will hold a lively demonstration in front of the offices of Public Strategies, Inc. at 607 14th St NW, Washington, DC 20005. Public Strategies is a public relations firm which represents the Bridgestone/Firestone Tire Company and helps deflect attention from the company’s long history of exploiting workers and the environment on its rubber plantation in Liberia.
Bama Athreya, Executive Director of the International Labor Rights Forum, said, “Concerned consumers and activists are protesting at Public Strategies’ office today because they continue to distort Firestone’s record of abuse in Liberia. Firestone needs to immediately improve the deplorable working and living conditions of their workers in Liberia instead of spending millions of dollars on public relations.”
For 82 years, Firestone has forced workers on its rubber plantation in Liberia to meet unreasonably high production quotas or risk losing their wages, which are often as low as $3 per day. As a result, workers are left with no choice but to bring their families, including their children, to work. These children are expected to carry buckets weighing up to 75 pounds and walk for miles without any sort of protective gear. In addition to poor working conditions, families live in crowded one-room shacks without running water or electricity. The company also dumps toxic chemicals into local rivers.
Public Strategies is the public relations firm that does all of the media work for Firestone and is helping them to gloss over their exploitation of workers and the environment on their rubber plantation in Liberia.
The Stop Firestone Coalition is an alliance of U.S. and Liberia based organizations working to hold Firestone accountable for its use of child labor, abuse of worker’s rights and destruction of the environment. For more information, please visit www.StopFirestone.org