Cooper-USWA are still talking in Texarkana despite strike

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Representatives from Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. and the United Steelworkers of America are still trying to hammer out a new labor contract for the tiremaker's Texarkana, Ark., plant, says Roger Hendrikson, Cooper's director of investor relations.

Steelworkers from USWA Local 752L are now picketing at the factory following the expiration of Cooper's labor contract with the union this past weekend.

Both parties were unable to reach an agreement on a new contract by expiration.

"Union leadership authorized a work stoppage at the plant beginning midnight March 12 without a membership vote on the proposed contract," said Cooper officials in a statement earlier today.

USWA spokesman Wayne Ranick told "the big issues are health care concessions and the absence of any job security commitments" on Cooper's part.

"I can't comment on the details of the negotiations," says Hendrikson.

The Texarkana factory produces 40,000 tires per day, according to Cooper.

The facility employs 2,000 people, "with the vast majority being union workers," says Hendrikson. As a result, no production is currently taking place at the plant, he adds.

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