FINDLAY, Ohio (Sept. 13) — Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. plans to change the work structure at its Texarkana, Ark., plant to allow it to operate more flexibly, gearing up production in times of high demand and scaling back when demand slackens.
Cooper designated the unionized Texarkana plant to be the "flex" plant in its recently announced "soft restructuring" because "it is best suited for future production needs," the company said in a prepared statement.
Cooper is in the initial planning stages for the change and said it will notify plant personnel of the details later this month. United Steelworkers Local 752 represents the 1,945 workers at the 22-year-old plant in southwest Arkansas. The plant is rated at 36,000 passenger and light truck tires a day.
The company intends to make more use of temporary workers in low-skilled positions to effect this plan, he said. One aspect of the plan involves setting up flexible cell-based manufacturing to handle various "slow-moving" products.