Agreement reached for Cooper Tire employees, vote to follow

Agreement reached for Cooper Tire employees, vote to follow
(Fred Gamble)

TEXARKANA, USA (KSLA) - A tentative agreement has been reached for employees of a Texarkana plant — and now it's in the hands of workers to accept or refuse.

On Monday morning, this morning Cooper Tire and Rubber Company in Texarkana was idle as employees with the United Steel Workers Union were brought up to date with a proposed new work contract.

Cooper Tire and Rubber Company is the largest non government employee in Texarkana Arkansas and Texas. Cooper Tire is a global company but this contract only effects the Texarkana Plant.

"We still got a job you never get everything you want but you still got a job," said one employee.

And that was the reaction by many following an information meeting for the 1500 Union workers at Cooper Tire and Rubber Company.

Employees have worked for nearly a week without a work agreement with the company.

Newly elected USW 752L Union President Kerry Halter said it took over six weeks to come up with a tentative agreement.

Halter said not everyone is happy — but union leaders feel if approved the contract will benefit both the union and the company.

"When both sides leave the table and you are not extremely happy but both sides can live with it we just did the very best we could," Halter said.

Halter said one of the main issue for them was closing the pay gap between workers hired on after 2009 with employees hired before 2009 which he said was accomplished in the contract.

Now these union workers will decide whether to accept the proposed contract or go back to the bargaining table.

The vote is scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 5 at the United Steel Workers Union Hall.

"Everyone in the plant really come out good in this contract," said Rowdy Green Cooper Employee. "Everyone in the plant got raises and that is very unusual."

If approved employees will work under the contract for the next four years and ifCooper Tire should sell there will be a three year extension.

“I have been here for 27 years and I’m just trying to continue on and you know everyting is going to be alright,” Melton Hatley said.

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