Brown takes issue with Trump call to boycott Ohio-based Goodyear

Published 2:25 am Sunday, August 23, 2020

Husted, DeWine urge support for company

WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown took issue on Wednesday with President Donald Trump’s call for Americans to boycott Goodyear, an Ohio-based tire company, after a report on politically-themed clothing in the workplace.

An NBC affiliate had reported on a slide, sent from an anonymous employee, purportedly from a presentation that instructed Goodyear employees not to wear clothing that advocated for a political candidate, including the Trump campaign’s “Make America Great Again” hats.

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The image listed Black Lives Matter and Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Pride messages as acceptable while politically affiliated slogans and material, including “MAGA Attire” and “Blue Lives Matter,” in support of police, were listed as unacceptable. The screenshot was described in the report as part of the company’s diversity training.

The company said the material captured in the screenshot was not created or distributed by the company’s corporate offices or part of a diversity training class. It also stressed that it does ask its workers to “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.”

Goodyear said it didn’t announce such a specific ban, only that it asks employees to refrain from workplace expressions involving political campaigns and “forms of advocacy that fall outside the scope of racial justice and equity issues.”

Trump’s tweet immediately sent the company’s stock downward. The stock trimmed its losses in the afternoon before closing down about 2.4 percent for the day.

“Get better tires for far less! (This is what the Radical Left Democrats do. Two can play the same game, and we have to start playing it now!),” Trump tweeted.

Trump’s tweet provided steam for critics on social media who had earlier started #boycottgoodyear on Twitter.

Goodyear responded to Trump with a tweet of its own, saying that the company was the focus of a conversation that “created some misconceptions about our policies and our company. Goodyear has always wholeheartedly supported both equality and law enforcement and will continue to do so.”

Brown said Trump’s call for a boycott was “a betrayal” of workers for the Akron-based company.

“It’s absolutely despicable that the President would call for a boycott of an American company, based in Akron, that employs thousands of U.S. workers,” Brown tweeted Wednesday. “Keep in mind, this is a President who spent years making his own Trump-branded products overseas. He failed to stand up for workers in Lordstown, and now he betrays the workers in Akron.”

U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Ohio, whose district covers Akron, said the company employs more than 3,000 in Ohio.

“It shows the problem that he has — that it’s more about him than it is about other people,” Ryan said in an interview with the Daily Beast.

Brown and Husted were joined by members of the president’s own party in supporting Goodyear.

“Goodyear is a great Ohio company that employs a lot of Ohioans,” Lt. Gov. Jon Husted, a Republican, posted on Twitter on Wednesday. “Please buy their products, it’s good for Ohio. And while you’re at it buy a set of tires from Cooper Tire, which is another great Ohio company.”

Husted did not mention Trump by name.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine was asked about the matter at his news conference on Thursday and told reporters that people “should not boycott this good company with good Ohio workers, who are doing a good job in making a good product.”
DeWine said he believed people should be able to express themselves in the workplace, as long as it is not disruptive, but said, legally, businesses can set their own rules for the workplace.

Trump continued his attacks on the company later in the day, telling reporters he was considering replacing the Goodyear tires on the presidential limo, known as “The Beast.”

“I would swap them out based on what I heard,” Trump said of the tires on the bullet-proof limousine. “We’ll see what happens.”

“Look, you’re going to have a lot of people not wanting to buy that product anymore.”

Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden took issue with Trump’s message in a statement.

“Goodyear employs thousands of American workers, including in Ohio where it is headquartered. To President Trump, those workers and their jobs aren’t a source of pride, just collateral damage in yet another one of his political attacks,” Biden said. “President Trump doesn’t have a clue about the dignity and worth that comes with good-paying union jobs at places like Goodyear — jobs that can support a family and sustain a community.”

— The Associated Press contributed to this report.