PITTSBURGH — Goodyear's $2.5 billion deal to purchase Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. has the potential to impact thousands of union workers across both companies.
There are no clear answers, however, at this time as to how.
The United Steelworkers (USW) union, which represents over 9,000 workers at both firms, said it has been in contact with both Goodyear and Cooper, and that "union voices will be heard throughout the process."
"Our contracts with Cooper and Goodyear provide security for our jobs, earnings and benefits with protections specifically addressing successorship in case of a change in owners," the USW told Rubber & Plastics News., a Tire Business sister publication.
"We look forward to facing the challenges ahead and continuing the tradition of quality tire building in all of our communities."
Union presidents from Goodyear's factories in Topeka, Kan., and Fayetteville, N.C., said they are concerned about the sale but also optimistic.
Jody Juarez, president of USW Local 307L in Topeka, said immediate reaction from the 1,450 union members there has been minimal so far.
"There has been absolutely no reaction," Mr. Juarez said. "Once the deal goes through and gets completely finalized, I think there will be more reaction. But it was a surprise to us."
About a year ago, Mr. Juarez said a rumor was floated that Goodyear was looking to buy Cooper Tire. He said he inquired with corporate about it, and was told that no, there was no such deal in the works.
"They said, 'Nope, nope, nope,' that's not the case," he said, "but I have to think that this was something that was in the works.
"One member said he should have listened to the rumor at the time and bought stock in Cooper Tire."