United Steelworkers denounce Giti Tire, based in Chester, SC

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Giti Tire arrived in Chester in 2017, marking its first North American factory.

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Giti Tire in Chester embezzled federal funds and betrayed residents of Chester County, the United Steelworkers allege in a recent press release.

The allegations

The company received around $ 10 million in federal pandemic programs aimed at small businesses – despite being a global conglomerate – and then failed to keep its workforce as promised, the company said. union, citing data in an Americans for Financial Reform report.

Americans for Financial Reform is a nonprofit group that focuses on financial reform in the United States.

Giti’s website says the company employs 33,000 workers worldwide.

The report says the company may have been considered a small business due to the size of the Chester plant, which employed around 700 people before the start of the pandemic.

“The company betrayed public trust long before COVID-19,” said Daniel Fillipo, a representative of the steelworkers union.

The union demands that “the company begin to honor its promises to the people of Chester County, South Carolina.” The United Steelworkers, or Steelworkers, is a union that represents workers in many industries, including rubber and tire manufacturing.

The Giti factory closed temporarily in April, but reopened in May.

Despite receiving funds from the Pandemic Protection Program, around 100 workers remain laid off, according to the press release.

“Giti promised he would use the PPP loans to keep 500 workers, but most of the workers at the plant lost their jobs for about a month and many still haven’t found their jobs 10 months after the initial shutdown. factory, ”the report says.

On Wednesday afternoon, Steelworkers representative Joe Smydo said Giti had not contacted the union and there were no updates at this time.

Giti moved to Chester in 2017 to praise South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster, who said the factory would be a “game changer.”

Giti Tire officials told the Herald in 2017 that the plant would hire around 1,700 workers; Executive Chairman Enki Tan said it could reach 5,000.

Fillipo says that Giti “never came close to that number”.

The deal documents show that Chester County agreed to give Giti tax breaks in exchange for job creation. USW says Giti is reaping the benefits without fulfilling its commitments.

“It’s time for Giti to start acting responsibly,” Flippo said. “This means not only creating the jobs he promised, but also paying wages to support the family and give back to the community.”

Giti responds

David Shelton, director of industrial relations at Giti, made a statement to the Herald on Wednesday afternoon.

He argued that Giti was qualified to receive federal loans, which came from the Payroll Protection Program (or PPP).

“From the biggest airlines to the smallest cafes, the global pandemic has had a huge impact on businesses of all sizes. Giti Tire fully qualified for PPP support. And these funds allowed us to bring our employees back from May 2020, much sooner than it would have been possible without the P3 money, ”Shelton said.

He said all employees on leave have been offered a job to return to work by August 2020.

“Many of these employees have joined us; some employees have voluntarily refused, ”he said.

“We are disappointed to see outside third-party organizations making inaccurate claims at this time of national crisis,” he said. “Giti Tire received economic development incentives to locate our first North American manufacturing facility in South Carolina. Our investment of $ 560 million has generated more than 500 jobs currently, and with the goal of meeting job creation requirements by 2024. ”

Tobie Nell Perkins works for the Herald in partnership with Report For America. It covers Chester County, Catawba Indian Nation and General Missions. Tobie is a graduate of the University of Florida and has won a Regional Murrow Award as well as awards from the Society of Professional Journalists and the Florida Society of News Editors.

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