PITTSBURGH (Sept. 28)—The United Steelworkers of America has sued to delay or block the sale of Cooper Tire & Rubber Co.´s Cooper-Standard Automotive group, saying labor contracts at four plants preclude a sale until new owners reach agreement with the union.
The USWA, which represents 1,500 workers at Cooper auto parts plants in Bowling Green, Ohio, Fort Wayne, Ind., and Eldorado, Ark., filed the lawsuit Monday in U.S. District Court in Fort Wayne.
The lawsuit comes just over a week after Cooper announced a $1.17 billion deal to sell the automotive unit to a consortium of New York-based investment equity groups.
The USWA said its contracts with Cooper contain successorship language that precludes a sale until the union has reached agreement with new owners. The union said it asked Cooper Tire repeatedly in the past two weeks to introduce its representatives to the prospective buyers so that bargaining could be completed without delay of the sale.
In written statement, Cooper Tire said the planned deal a stock sale structured to leave the automotive business unit intact, with "employees remaining employed, the continuation of all existing union relationships and all existing Cooper-Standard labor contracts remaining in effect."
Cooper said it believes the USWA´s interpretation of the successorship language is wrong and violates federal labor law.