Union approves extended Cooper Tire contract - KLTV.com-Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville, Texas | ETX News

Union approves extended Cooper Tire contract

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Union workers at Texarkana's Cooper Tire have approved a new collective bargaining agreement that extends their current contract to 2019.

Members of the United Steel Workers Union 752L voted on the new contract Wednesday with 84% voting for and 16% voting against. About 1,400 USW 752L union workers are employed at the Texarkana plant.

They say will provide protection for employees if the company is sold to Apollo Tyres of India.

The extension kicks in when the current contract expires in 2016, and includes an annual cost of living check payment of $1,000 for employees hired before 2009 once the new contract kicks in. A union spokesperson says it also includes pay increases and "better benefits," but no details have been released.

Apollo's $2.5M buyout, announced in June, would combine the companies to become the seventh-largest tire company in the world. It was supposed to close in early October, until a federal arbitrator ruled that Apollo must have a labor agreement with the union before the deal could be completed.

Now, Cooper and Apollo are now caught up in a convoluted legal battle over the completion of the acquisition before the December 31 deadline.

In addition to having questions about a Cooper joint venture in China, Apollo reportedly wants a Cooper to lower their price to make up for any raises it must give under the renegotiated contracts. The two have disagreed over whether Apollo has intentionally delayed an agreement with the labor union to avoid completing the acquisition or to get a better price.

The re-negotiated contract will go into effect regardless of whether the sale to Apollo Tyres goes through.

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