No final ride for last day at Cooper - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

No final ride for last day at Cooper

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By Jim Wallace - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) -This is the final week on the job for 220 Cooper Tire employees.

After that only a few dozen people will remain at the Albany plant that used to employ more than 1400 people.

One long-time Cooper Employee wanted to make his last day on the job a memorable one. Alan Williams loves horses and planned to ride his horse to the Cooper Plant today for his final day before he is laid off. But the rain and a cold kept him from making his final commute in the saddle.

Rackman stays in his trailer Thursday, after Alan Williams decided not to ride tall in the saddle for his final day on the job at the closing down Cooper Tire Plant.

Williams said "there is life after Cooper. You can always take something negative and make it positive."

Williams worked as a tire builder for 15 years at Cooper, and realizing this was his final day was emotional.

Williams said "It's kind of heart warming. It makes you feel little funny, thinking about it."

Williams had planned to ride his horse Rackman to the plant today, to mark this final commute to the closing plant. But suffering from a cold and today's rain made him change his mind and he just drove to work. Williams said he is disappointed that his friends and co-workers lost their jobs with the plant closing.

Williams said "The thing that sticks in my craw, when they said they are going to open a plant in Mexico, and then turn around and say we are going to close the one here. So it's like instead of helping Americans here, you are going to take a plant and put it somewhere else that you can operate cheaper because of the labor cost there. But then look at the people and families you are now putting in a financial bind."

Williams praised Cooper for their severance help to former employees. He is considering going back to school to learn another trade, maybe the medical field, which he worked in in the military. But he says for him there is life after Cooper.

Williams said many Cooper employees have lunches scheduled Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. To get together after their lay off, and celebrate together.

After tomorrow only about 30 will be left to ramp down the plant before it closes for good.

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