While locked out workers are hopeful the new contract reached in Arkansas will bring labor peace to their plant, Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has begun moving tire production equipment out of its Findlay, Ohio, tire plant.
Word came late last week that the tiremaker was moving the equipment, even as the 1,050 union workers there continued picketing outside of the plant, where they have been locked out since Nov. 28.
Tire Review contacted Cooper for a comment on reports that the tiremaker was removing the equipment, but received no response. In a comment released to both the Toledo Blade and Findlay Courier, Cooper stated: “In addition to using highly skilled temporary workers to ramp up productivity in the Findlay plant, we have also taken other steps that include rebalancing our global capacity and moving some equipment from the Findlay plant to our other plants in North America, Europe and Asia.”
USW Local 207 president Rod Nelson told the local media that picketing members saw equipment being moved out of the plant, and that the union is concerned. “We’re always concerned when machinery is being taken out of the plant,” he told the Courier. “We want to see new machinery being brought in.”
Meanwhile, the 1,500 members at USW Local 752 at Cooper’s Texarkana, Ark., plant will vote this Thursday on a tentative agreement reached on Jan. 19.