Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. is vowing to fight an order from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ordering it to bargain with the union that organized its Cedar Rapids tire distribution center.
The union-International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) Local 1634-also indicated it will fight to keep union certification at the facility. ``We will take this all the way,'' said Brian Heins, Local 1634 president and business manager.
Mr. Heins said some of the 12 hourly workers at the Cedar Rapids center approached IBEW Local 1634 about union representation. The first election, in January 2003, ended in a 6-6 tie, meaning the union lost.
Local 1634 appealed to the NLRB to hold a second election at Cedar Rapids, won its petition and then won the second election on Dec. 3, 2003. It was certified Dec. 10 as the sole collective bargaining representative of the Cedar Rapids workers. But Cooper refused to bargain with the union, and the union complained to the NLRB.
The union also accused Cooper of attempting to interfere with the elections-a charge Cooper denied. On March 25 the NLRB ruled in the union's favor, ordering Cooper to bargain with the union and not to interfere with future elections.
Cooper's position is that the second election was unwarranted, according to a spokeswoman for the Findlay, Ohio-based tire maker.
``We feel that the first election reflected the true beliefs of our employees,'' she said. ``We feel it was unwarranted to put them through another stressful event so soon after the first.''
Cooper is preparing a petition appealing the NLRB decision, the spokeswoman said. She wasn't sure of the deadline for the petition or the court to which it would go, but Mr. Heins said an NLRB spokesman told him it probably would be the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago.
The next stop after that would be the U.S. Supreme Court, he added, and Local 1634 is willing to go that far to hang on to union certification. ``We're not going to sit still,'' he said.