On the picket line for seven weeks now, 1,050 members of United Steelworkers Local 207L were locked out on Nov. 28 after voting down the company’s “last, best and final” offer.
“They picked a fight with the wrong union at the wrong time,” Rodney Nelson, Local 207L president, said in a phone interview. “We’re not going to let them push this through.”
Tire workers maintain 24-hour pickets at all gates of the huge Cooper Tire facility. “The company so far has refused our offers to negotiate,” Nelson said. He explained that the union scheduled a negotiating session with a federal mediator for Jan. 12, but the company has refused to participate.
The company has been bringing in replacement workers across the picket lines, some who were formerly employed at its now closed tire plant in Albany, Ga.
Contract negotiations are under way at the Cooper Tire plant in Texarkana, Ark. In October, members of USW Local 752L there voted to authorize a strike. The current contract expires Jan. 17.
Union members in Findlay began receiving unemployment benefits between the Christmas and New Year holidays.
Messages of support and donations can be sent to USW Local 207L, 1130 Summit St., Findlay, OH 45840. Phone: (419) 422-4224.
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