FINDLAY, Ohio (Dec. 9, 2008)-Members of United Steelworkers Local 207L at Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s Findlay tire plant ratified a new three-year contract that will make the operation more competitive if the factory is not the one Cooper chooses for closure.
The local voted 648-264 in favor of the new pact in voting that took place Dec. 7 and 8. The old contract had expired Oct. 31 but workers stayed on the job as negotiations continued.
"This contract was very different from any negotiations we have faced before," said Mark Krivoruchka, Cooper senior vice president for global human resources. "The Local 207L committee needed to adjust wages and working conditions in a way that makes Cooper more cost-competitive in the marketplace."
The agreement includes no general wage increases or cost-of-living allowance during the term of the contract, according to a summary of the pact. In addition, new hires will be paid $13 an hour and will be considered regular employees after three years. New wage rates also were put in place for certain job classifications.
In the area of job security, if the Findlay plant is not named for closure by Jan. 19 there will be no closing announcement for the life of the contract. Cooper also would then guarantee a staff level of 90 percent of bargaining unit employees; consider the factory first for new products; and provide the plant with the necessary capital to maintain a competitive status.
Cooper is in the midst of a 90-day capacity study initiated because of the soft demand for tires. The company said the study likely will result in the closing of one of its four U.S. plants.