TEXARKANA, Ark. (Jan. 27, 2012)—Members of United Steelworkers Local 752L at Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s plant in Texarkana have “overwhelmingly” ratified a new four-year labor agreement.
According to Cooper, the workers voted 1,006 to 141 to approve the pact, which the tire maker said includes undisclosed changes to wages and benefits that will be implemented over the course of the accord.
Cooper said with ratification of the pact, it plans to make additional, undisclosed investment in the 48-year-old car and light truck tire plant, which is rated to produce at 29, 607 units daily.
Union and company representatives voiced optimism for the future of the Texarkana facility and the ability of the plant employees to be even more productive under the terms of the new contract, Cooper said.
A spokesman for USW Local 752L said he didn't have the vote totals yet, but that “it was not a surprise that the contract passed.” The union, which has about 1,500 members at the Texarkana plant, approved the contract Jan. 26. Cooper and USW representatives had reached tentative agreement on the pact Jan. 20.
Cooper last announced a specific investment related to capacity at Texarkana in 2004, when it earmarked $5.2 million for new presses, additional tire-building equipment and cell modification changes that allowed the plant to make larger diameter high-performance tires and boost capacity by 560,000 tires annually.
With the Texarkana pact out of the way, the USW spokesman said the union is now “pushing forward to schedule negotiations for the Findlay (Ohio) plant.”
The union and Cooper have been at loggerheads since November when USW members rejected a contract offer at the company's Findlay factory. Cooper then locked out the union and brought in temporary workers to operate the facility and build tires. No new negotiations have been scheduled at Findlay.