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Cooper locks out steelworkers at Findlay plant

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has announced an immediate lockout of its Findlay plant unionized workforce to the USW. Cooper says the move follows repeated attempts to extend its recently expired contract or reach agreement on a new long-term contract with United Steelworkers Local 207L (USW).

At the onset and throughout negotiations which began nearly three months ago, Cooper made it clear to the USW that a competitive, cost-effective and timely agreement needed to be reached to avoid a risk to Cooper and its customers of simultaneous work stoppages in Findlay and Cooper's Texarkana, Ark., manufacturing facility. 

The company said it advanced several options to avoid the contract overlap that is looming, including a last, best, and final proposal for a new long-term contract and an offer to extend the recently expired contract for an additional year with no change in terms. 

The USW was unwilling to extend the contract more than 30 days, which would have placed the labor agreements at two of Cooper's major U.S. facilities even closer together. 

Cooper plans to continue manufacturing operations at the Findlay facility with a temporary workforce during the lockout. The company said it will continue to supply its customers and is committed to making every effort to support them during this labor action.

Cooper said it is also committed to reaching an agreement with the USW that recognizes the realities of the tire industry while providing a competitive wage and benefit package for its employees. Dates for future negotiations are currently being finalized. 

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