RICHBURG, SC – A non-profit group and the United Steelworkers (USW) criticize Giti Tire (USA) Ltd. for accepting millions of dollars in federal COVID-19 aid, but the tire maker is backing down while claiming the company is fully qualified for the emergency money.

A new report from the Americans for Financial Reform Education Fund (AFREF) aims to prove that Giti Tire is a prime example of Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) misfunding.

Giti used words such as “outrageous, disappointing and misleading” to react to the allegations.

At the heart of the dust is nearly $8 million in federal P3 funding awarded to the company for the South Carolina site, which had to shut down for several weeks at the onset of the pandemic last spring. Nearly $2 million more went to the company for operations in California, critics said.

“As our country begins to emerge from this devastating pandemic, it is disappointing to see outside third-party organizations trying to take advantage of the situation. The allegations against us are misleading and misrepresent the situation,” the company said in a statement. communicated.

Patrick Woodall, senior researcher and writer at AFREF, is the author of the recently published report, “Where the Rubber Meets the Road – How a Global Tire Titan Secured Millions in Small Business Loans During a Pandemic.” He sees things very differently from Giti.

“We’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the extent to which the COVID stimulus package has benefited large businesses and often at the expense of small businesses. And that’s essentially true of the PPP program,” Woodall said.

It paints a picture of small businesses, especially those owned by women and people of color, being squeezed out of PPP financing by big business, especially in the early days when money was moving fast. By the time more PPP money arrived, it was too late for some small businesses, Mr Woodall said.

“A lot of businesses on Main Street just never had that kind of access to support.”

The report claims that the Giti plant, as part of a larger global tire company, should not have received PPP funding as it had the backing of the larger company needed to survive.

“We know that many, many small independent companies that were not affiliated with a Singapore-based global tire manufacturer with some 30,000 employees were unable to access the program,” Mr Woodall said. And that begs the question of “whether or not small business credit was given fairly.”

Giti claimed the company received money fairly from the PPP scheme, a move that allowed the company to bring workers back sooner than would otherwise have been possible.

“Giti Tire has fully qualified for PPP support, and these funds have allowed us to bring our employees back from May 2020, much sooner than would have been possible without PPP money,” said Giti.

“As for our Giti Tire team, the sudden impact of the pandemic forced us to suspend operations and lay off employees in early April 2020. Following the furlough, we applied for the PPP funds. Fortunately, we were able to use PPP money to begin bringing our team members back in May 2020, despite uncertainty in market demand for the tires due to widespread stay-at-home orders,” the tire maker said.

“At the end of August 2020, all eligible employees on leave were offered employment to return to work. Many of these employees joined us. Some employees voluntarily declined. Currently, we continue to recruit, hire and train qualified candidates for production and other positions,” Giti said.

This is in direct contradiction to USW’s claims that “Giti still fired about 100 workers from their jobs.”

The USW even created a separate website, www.greedygiti.comto highlight the report issued by AFREF.

“Giti’s abuse of pandemic aid is appalling, but not surprising,” USW District 9 Director Daniel Flippo said in a statement. “This company betrayed public trust long before COVID-19.”

“Giti took $60 million in tax breaks to build a factory, then broke his promise to create 1,700 jobs for the community. Giti never came close to that number, and when the pandemic hit, Giti permanently laid off many of the workers it had despite taking PPP funds,” he alleged.

Linking the issue of PPP financing to incentives to build the plant is a red herring, the company said.

“Economic development incentives have nothing to do with PPP money. Such incentives are given to eligible businesses when they choose to locate in a state and/or county. They are two separate topics” , the company said.

The stakes in the PPP fight go well beyond the $8 million in funding received by Giti in South Carolina under the pandemic-related program.

Giti has invested $560 million in the tire plant with the promise of creating new jobs in exchange for a financial incentive package to move to Richburg.

Giti, while pushing back on criticism, said the company continues to work on creating needed jobs.

“We are disappointed to see outside third-party organizations making inaccurate claims during this time of national crisis, but the facts back our operations,” the company said. “Our $560 million investment has generated more than 500 jobs and aims to meet the job creation requirement by 2024.”

The 1.7 million square feet. The plant has been an economic boost for South Carolina, generating 5,000 direct and indirect jobs, translating into a $1.2 billion impact in the region, the company said.

“With all of this positive impact and potential, it is even more important that we remain focused on recovering from the pandemic and that we support our employees, produce high quality tires and invest in our local communities,” the company said. .

The Giti passenger and light truck tire plant in Richburg began production in late 2017. Along with the adjacent Giti Tire R&D Center, the plant produces Giti and GT Radial branded tires for OE customers and replacement throughout North America.

About The Author

Related Posts