TEXARKANA (KSLA) - Since 1964, Cooper Tire & Rubber Company has been associated with Texarkana, but as of Monday, Feb. 22, work there will continue, but in the near future, the name will be different.
Representatives with United Steelworkers Union met in a scheduled meeting Monday morning to finalize a collective bargaining agreement with Cooper Tire & Rubber Company. Before the meeting began, Union President Kerry Halter received a surprise announcement from corporate headquarters.
“It threw us a curveball. We are not sure what that entails. Sometimes it’s good news, sometimes it’s bad,” said Halter.
The news Halter is referring to is that Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company intends to buy Cooper Tire.
“It was a shock. They kept it pretty quiet,” Halter said.
Cooper products are manufactured in 10 facilities around the globe. The Texarkana plant has over 1,500 union workers and has been in operation for nearly 60 years. Cooper Tire & Rubber Company is the largest non-government employer in Texarkana, Arkansas. The union president says thanks to their collective bargaining agreement, union workers should not be immediately affected by the takeover.
“A lot of people are afraid or scared a little bit. They are not sure as to what is going to happen, but with that language being in place, it does give us some job security,” Halter said.
Cooper leaders from Findly, Ohio released the following statement to KSLA: “Importantly, the expected cost savings outlined in today’s announcement do not contemplate the lost of any manufacturing jobs or elimination of any manufacturing plants. As always, Goodyear will evaluate how to best approach the future.”
“There is no need for panic. We are in a good position and a good place and we are going to continue to do business as we did Friday when we went home,” Halter said.
Corporate leaders for Cooper Tire and Rubber Company said it could take months before the takeover is complete. The price tag on this deal is $2.5 billion.
On Friday, April 30, Cooper Tire announced that its stockholders voted to approve the agreement and plan for the merger. At a special meeting held Friday, approximately 99% of votes cast were in favor of the deal.
“We are pleased with the strong support of our stockholders for the proposed business combination of Cooper and Goodyear as all proposals related to the acquisition were approved,” said John Holland, Cooper chairman. “This step is an important one in the process of bringing together our two companies to continue to meet the needs of customers, consumers and other stakeholders around the world while driving value for shareholders.”
The two companies continue to work together to close the transaction.