A complaint against a labor union's campaign targeting tire dealers supplied by Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has been dismissed by the National Labor Relations Board.
The Paper, Allied-Industrial, Chemical and Energy Workers International Union said May 5 that an April 5 NLRB complaint from Continental Carbon Co. was dismissed. The Houston-based carbon black producer claimed PACE was trying to involve Cooper and its dealers in a labor dispute via its corporate campaign, said Todd Carlson, president of PACE Local 5-857.
About 85 members of Local 5-857 were locked out at Continental Carbon's Ponca City carbon black plant May 8, 2001. The union's campaign against the company has included warnings to tire makers-including Cooper, Goodyear and Bridgestone/Firestone-and their customers about potentially defective carbon black being made at Ponca City because of alleged high turnover and an unskilled replacement work force.
James E. Kline, Cooper vice president, general counsel and secretary, sent a letter dated April 22 to a Colorado attorney representing PACE saying that effective April 1, Cooper no longer was receiving carbon black for tires from Continental Carbon's Ponca City plant.
However, the letter also said the Findlay, Ohio-based tire maker wasn't taking the action because of quality concerns but "to avoid disruption to Cooper's dealer organization as a result of PACE union activity."
Cooper now receives its carbon black for tires from Continental Carbon's Phenix City, Ala., facility, Kline said. Regardless of the source, Cooper tests each delivery of carbon black to American Society for Testing & Materials standards, the letter said.
PACE and Continental Carbon sat down for contract negotiations April 7-8, the first time they had done so in about a year, Carlson said. The union gave the company written questions at the meeting, but the two sides haven't met since then, he said.