TEXARKANA, Ark. (AP) -- Cooper Tire and Rubber Co. said Thursday it had reached a tentative agreement for a new contract with unionized workers at its Texarkana plant as it continues plans to close one of its U.S. facilities.
A statement released by the company offered no specifics, but said workers would receive more details about the plan at a meeting Friday at the Four States Fairgrounds. The Findlay, Ohio-based company said the local union plans to vote Saturday on the proposed contract.
However, the statement offered no guarantees the Texarkana facility would remain open.
"We were pleased at the cooperation with our union leadership in coming to the table early to help put Cooper Tire in a more competitive position," said John Bodart, an acting vice president with Cooper Tire. "This new contract will be factored into the network capacity analysis now being done for all of our manufacturing plants in North America."
A company spokeswoman did not return a call for comment Thursday night. David Boone, president of United Steel Workers Local 752L, could not be reached.
The union's current contract with the company wouldn't expire until 2010.
Cooper Tire is considering closing one of its U.S. plants. Cooper's other sites are in Findlay, Ohio; Albany, Ga.; and Tupelo, Miss. State governments and unions are vying to keep the plants in their respective states.
The announcement Thursday comes after workers at the Cooper Tire plant in Ohio approved a contract this week that will cut their pay in hopes of saving their jobs. That contract includes wage and benefits cuts that will cost workers $30 million over the three-year deal, union officials there said.
State Rep. Steve Harrelson, D-Texarkana, said the union began negotiations Wednesday with Cooper Tire, a day after the Ohio union approved its contract.
"I think that probably spurred some negotiations here," Harrelson said.
Gov. Mike Beebe said he knew an agreement was in the works, but said he hasn't gotten a commitment from the company that it would keep the plant open.
"I knew it was in the works but I didn't know they had announced it," Beebe said. "I think it helps because obviously that's what happened with Findlay, so it helps."
Mississippi officials are offering $30 million in financial incentives to keep the company in Tupelo.
Cooper Tire plans to decide which plant will close by Jan. 19. It's looking at a number of factors to evaluate its plants, including potential cost savings, plant performance, and labor relations.
The Texarkana plant employs 1,400 workers. Local officials say Cooper Tire annually pays between $90 million and $100 million in direct wages. Texarkana's economic development director has said Cooper Tire's economic impact on the region is "easily $200 million" within a 50-mile radius.
Shares of Cooper Tire fell 63 cents Thursday to close at $5.30.