Findlay workers nervously await plant announcement

Report by Dick Berry - email
Posted by LS

FINDLAY (WTOL) - A plant in northwest Ohio could be closing altogether. It's the Cooper Tire and Rubber plant in Findlay, which has 1100 workers.

This week the company announced that slow sales will force it to close one of four plants in the U.S. It could be the plant in Findlay, home of Cooper's world headquarters.

Cooper is asking each community to produce an incentive package. The deadline is December 1.

"This is not a situation where we're losing a plant to another community. These communities are competing not to lose their plant period," says Ed Ingold, Hancock County Commissioner.

Also lost would be high-paying jobs affecting the local tax base. A cross section of politicians and community leaders has formed a task force to save Cooper Tire and Rubber.

And Aggie Dahar knows how to save a plant. Ten years ago, she was a leader on the 'Keep Jeep in Toledo' campaign. She's now with the Hancock Regional Planning Commission and sits on the task force. Aggie says community support saved Jeep and will save Cooper. "There wasn't a business that didn't have a sign in their window or on billboards. There wasn't a person you passed on the street that didn't have a button or 'Keep Jeep' slogan," she says.

The union head at Cooper isn't surprised by the announcement. Rodney Nelson with United Steel Wrokers 207, though, tells News 11 ongoing contract negotiations with the company could affect the future of the plant. "I think we can work smarter in our facility and improve productivity to help out our plant."

In the meantime, Cooper officials say they will eventually conduct a 90-day study to determine which plant folds.

The task force met  for the first time Thursday, October 23 to discuss incentives to keep Cooper in town. The best help appears to come from the state. The group will meet with Cooper on Monday to find out what the company wants.

Findlay is in competition with:

  • Albany, Georgia
  • Texarkana, Arkansas
  • Tupelo, Mississippi