Union claims "no" vote prompted by fear tactics - WALB.com, South Georgia News, Weather, Sports

Union claims "no" vote prompted by fear tactics

June 9, 2005

Dougherty County -- Cooper Tire workers in Albany vote no to a unionization. The vote was not as close as many thought it would be.

Twelve-hundred-twenty workers voted Tuesday and Wednesday in the secret ballot at the plant; 755 voted not to join the United Steelworkers of America, while 465 voted for unionization.

Most of the workers we talked with at the plant Thursday afternoon were happy the union failed.

Union organizers say the company's fear tactics won out. United Steelworkers of America Organizer Lugertha Sharpley said "The Company's propaganda about unions. And fear of closing of their plant."

Cooper Employee Mark Ellis said "I don't think we ever had any worry about closing the plant, but I think these folks around here really understand what was fixing to go on."

Cooper Tire and Rubber management said in a press release they are pleased with the no union vote. "Cooper has a great relationship with Albany employees and we expect that to grow stronger as we go forward making the best tires we can for our customers."

Cooper employees will have to wait one year before they can petition for another union vote.

Two decades ago, Firestone workers voted to unionize, and friction between ownership and employees escalated. The plant shut down shortly thereafter.

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