News was supposed to come later this morning, but the AP is reporting that Texarkana’s Cooper Tire and Rubber plant, which employs about 1,400 people, will remain open.
The company had said it would have to close one of four plants — Findlay, Ohio (where Cooper is headquartered); Tupelo, Miss.; Texarkana; and Albany, Ga. In a conference call this morning, Cooper said it would close the Albany plant, which employs about 1,300 people.
Workers and economic development officials in Arkansas had been working to do what they could to increase their chances that the Texarkana plant would remain open. Union workers at the Texarkana plant last week approved a new contract that included concessions.
Still, it’s tough to celebrate too much, knowing that a plant in Georgia is shutting its doors. The Albany plant, like the others, has been living in fear of closure for weeks now:
An “I Love Cooper” campaign has highlighted the desire for the company to remain in Albany, but Commissioner Jack Stone says it’s a campaign that should be carried out for all businesses, all the time. He said, “It brings back the attention of where we’re at. We don’t need to wait until a company decides to close up and then start putting blue ribbons on the door. We need to start ahead of time.”
In hopes of keeping those companies here, and happy. “In a perfect economy, losing an employer is devastating. In a difficult and trying economy, like we have, it is beyond my comprehension.” And he hopes he won’t have to.