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Cooper, Findlay union reach tenative agreement

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Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and the United Steelworkers of America (USW) Local 207L have reached a tentative agreement that, if ratified by union members, hopefully will keep the Findlay, Ohio, consumer tire facility open for three years.

The new agreement brings an end to weeks of negotiations (the previous contract expired Oct. 31). Work continued at the Findlay manufacturing facility during the negotiation process.

"The agreement, if approved, will position the Findlay plant in a competitive manner, which is especially important while we are finalizing the network capacity study,” says Jack Hamilton, Findlay plant manager.

Last month, Cooper announced that it is conducting a capacity study at its four domestic tire plants that will likely result in restructuring, "including capacity consolidation and geographical shifts (of) production" (See "Cooper reviews financial packages for plants," Dec. 2, 2008). The other three plants are in Albany, Ga.; Tupelo, Miss.; and Texarkana, Ark.

"Over the years, the Findlay plant has stepped up to meet the challenges," says Rod Nelson, president of USW Local 207L. "We have done so again to secure our jobs in today’s environment by balancing job security with a need to be competitive in the industry."

At 9 a.m. on Friday, Dec. 5, there will be an informational meeting for the USW Local 207L hourly workers at Winebrenner Theological Seminary in Findlay. Voting instructions will be discussed at the meeting.

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