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Cooper Tire Enters Arbitration Over Intended Sell-off

Wednesday, September, 4, 2013

Cooper Tire Enters Arbitration Over Intended Sell-off


Cooper Tire & Rubber and their unionized workers entered into arbitration at the end of August and a decision is expected within the next 14 days.  The dispute concerns workers at two Cooper Tire & Rubber plants—one in Texarkana, Arkansas and one in Findlay, Ohio—and if the upcoming sell-off to Apollo Tyres, Ltd. violates those workers’ contractual provisions. 


A meeting between Cooper Tire’s shareholders is expected to take place on September 30, at which point a final decision will be made concerning the planned sell-off of the company.  Before that meeting takes place, the arbitrator, James Oldham, a law professor at Georgetown University will deliberate and return his final ruling after looking through all of the evidence and considering testimony given. 


The union’s stance is that the workers’ contractual negotiations should take place before the merger occurs.  Such negotiations would ensure that the workers have job security, benefits and pensions after the sell-off.  This step would be made to protect the American workers’ interest, since the buyer is a company based in India.  At a sell-off price estimated to be $2.5 billion, the union argues that such preventive measures are necessary.


According to the proxy statement, if the arbitrator’s decision favors the union, both Cooper Tire and Apollo Tyre "could be required to enter into an agreement with the [USW] and each local union establishing different terms and conditions of employment from those in the current agreements."


Cooper Tire has another facility in Tupelo, Mississippi that is non-unionized.