In 2010, stepping onto Firestone's rubber plantation in Liberia is like being transported back centuries. The majority of workers on the plantation are "rubber tappers" who collect raw latex from the rubber trees and pour them into buckets that weigh 75 pounds each. The tappers carry two of the heavy buckets on each end of a stick on their backs for miles to a collection point where they are weighed and recorded to ensure that each rubber tapper meets his or her daily production quota. It is tragically ironic that a company that produces tires refuses to provide trucks for workers to transport the heavy buckets of latex. This type of work system is completely outdated and has been upgraded on most rubber plantations globally, for example in other major rubber-producing countries like Indonesia.
Firestone workers in Liberia have recently made important advances in securing
their rights. After a major organizing campaign, workers finally held the first
free and fair union elections on the plantation in 2008 and signed an historic
collective bargaining agreement (CBA). Check out the video below to see the working conditions on the plantation and learn more about the workers' inspiring struggle!
Right now, workers have an important opportunity to take the next step
forward in achieving the justice they have long deserved. The union is
currently negotiating a new contract with Firestone. This is a crucial opening
for workers to finally remove Firestone’s heavy load of exploitation from their
You can join in solidarity with Firestone workers in Liberia by taking these actions:
- 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
UPDATE: Many of you are already taking action on Facebook and Bridgestone/Firestone is taking notice. The company is now directing comments on Liberia to this discussion board on their Facebook page. Please leave a comment on the discussion board asking Firestone to specifically respond to the issue of transportation of the buckets and remind them that they need to stop this exploitation.
Together we CAN make a difference -- we've already accomplished so much with this campaign! So let's take it to the next level and finally end this outdated and abusive system of transporting latex.
re: Time for Bridgestone/Firestone to Play Fair!
Just sent my letter and posted on the Firestone facebook page. Thanks for your hard work on this campaign. This kind of exploitation is completely unacceptable!