FINDLAY, Ohio — Unionized workers at Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.'s Findlay plant have ratified a new four-year labor agreement after previously turning down a proposed settlement.
Negotiators from Local 207L of the United Steelworkers (USW) union and the company renegotiated a second deal after workers voted down an earlier proposed settlement.
This new agreement, ratified by a vote of 496-180, provides important language that gives new workers a "progressive tier" that increases their pay over three years, Union President Brian Brubaker told Tire Business.
Installing language into the contract that allows these newer employees to get to 100% of the salary of more established workers has been an important issue for the union, he said.
"We just went back to the table and expressed our concerns on a few items," Mr. Brubaker said.
The union president was hesitant to talk in great detail about contract specifics, but he did indicate the four-year agreement does provide for wage increases for all union members.
The new contact covers about 800 workers at the 106-year-old Findlay plant, which makes passenger and light truck tires.
Plant Manager Jeff Kamm said the new deal required "much hard work and a thoughtful negotiation process by both the USW and company representatives."
Union members voted 427-253 in early March against an earlier proposed settlement. The sides then returned to the negotiating table an estimated four times to reach a new accord, Mr. Brubaker said.
Workers remained on the job working under terms of a contract that expired Feb. 28 as negotiations took place. Talks started in mid-January and the two sides struck that initial proposed agreement in late February.
Cooper is the fifth-largest tire manufacturer in North America, with a 4.8% share of the $48 billion market last year, according to Tire Business estimates. Globally, the company ranks No. 13 with 2018 sales of $2.8 billion.
The Findlay plant has an estimated capacity of 18,000 units per day. Cooper also has plants in Texarkana, Ark., and Tupelo, Miss.