Kelly, Union Workers Celebrate Keeping Their Jobs This Labor Day - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

09/01/03 - Tyler

Kelly, Union Workers Celebrate Keeping Their Jobs This Labor Day

  This Labor Day finds more than one thousand East Texans and their families breathing a sigh of relief. They're still employees of the Kelly-Springfield tire plant in Tyler despite a long contract dispute with parent company Goodyear.

The employee union and the company finally came to an agreement about two weeks ago.

"It's a celebration of working men and women that they have one day a year that the nation recognizes the sacrifices that people made," says Glen Stanley, of the Communications Workers of America.

The celebration is on a rainy day, but it doesn't matter. For these workers, from all over the area, they're celebrating not only their strength as organized labor -- but that those who work at Kelly Springfield still have their jobs.

"It's a special Labor Day because we went through this contract for five or six months. Without organized labor, this plant probably wouldn't be here today," says Timothy Dews, a Kelly Employee.

A protracted contract dispute is laid to rest, though final ratification is yet to come.  It's a day to celebrate.

"Not only is it economical for the people that work there, it's such a boost to the economy of this region," says Stanley.

"We didn't want them to close down because that would mean less jobs in Tyler, so we wanted to keep them going for all of us," says Flora Smith, a union employee at Carrier in Tyler.

Workers brought their families -- their children who are learning the value of hard work and team work.

"That is the future of this plant. Both our kids might work out here, might be managers in this plant," says Dews.

To get there they know they've got to work together, not only as workers but as East Texans. 

Several hundred people came to Monday's picnic that was moved inside the Kelly Union Hall because of the rain.

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