Workers take up pickets at Cooper's Texarkana plant

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Steelworkers at Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s Texarkana, Ark., plant are picketing following the expiration of Cooper's labor contract with the union this past weekend.

"Cooper and Texarkana United Steelworkers Local 752L were not able to reach an agreement on a new contract," say Cooper officials.

"Union leadership authorized a work stoppage at the plant beginning midnight March 12 without a membership vote on the proposed contract."

Earlier today, United Steelworkers of America spokesman Wayne Ranick told "the big issues are health care concessions and the absence of any job security commitments" on Cooper's part.

"Obviously there's a work stoppage," says Ranick. "But brick walls haven't gone up."

Cooper officials are "hopeful that talks will continue (in order to) resume production as quickly as possible."

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

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