Texarkana talks show Cooper, USW how negotiations should look
Cooper Tire & Rubber’s fears of concurrent production stoppages at its two major US plants have been allayed with the reaching of a tentative agreement for workers at its Texarkana facility. The tyre maker says it reached the four-year labour agreement with the United Steelworkers union shortly before the current contract expired on 20 January. Details of the agreement are being withheld pending presentation to union members during the course of this week.
In a joint statement, Cooper and the USW expressed their appreciation for the professionalism, hard work, and support of those participating in the negotiations as well as the workforce who put their trust in their representatives to reach a timely agreement.
“Both sides worked hard to reach a four-year agreement that both the plant and the community can be proud of,” said David Boone, president of USW Local 752L. “Of all the negotiations I have been involved with, this one was conducted in the most professional manner. The local community should be proud of the negotiation teams that worked to keep good jobs in Texarkana. This plant is an integral part of the community, and it was important for all of us to work together to get this done.”
Texarkana plant manager Scott Cole added: “The thoughtful and constructive analysis that went into reaching this agreement will serve us well as we continue to work together to make Texarkana even better than it is today. I am extremely pleased that our negotiating teams reached a responsible agreement that will benefit our employees and our customers for many years to come.”
Behind the back patting and well-dones, Cooper is no doubt thrilled to have avoided the nightmare scenario of its two largest plants embroiled in labour disputes at the same time. It is not known to what extent, if at all, the fear of this influenced Cooper’s negotiating position at Texarkana. At any rate, when talks on the Findlay contract do finally get underway again, the tyre maker will be able to traverse these safe in the knowledge that production at its other major site is secure.