Tire Firm Bolsters Pension Plan Before Closing Plant

By Staff Report

Aug. 14, 2009

Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. will inject $39 million into its pension plan in an agreement with the Pension Benefit Guaranty Corp. that was announced Wednesday, August 12.

The Findlay, Ohio-based manufacturing firm will close a 1,300-employee plant in Albany, Georgia, later this year. Under federal pension law, when plant closings result in job losses for more than 20 percent of covered workers, the company must make additional contributions to its pension plan.

Under the agreement with the PBGC, Cooper Tire will fulfill its $62 million obligation by contributing $39 million to the pension plan and waiving its $23 million credit for past overfunding.

The PBGC said it encourages companies to contact the agency before deciding to close plants to try to ensure similar agreements.

“The PBGC keeps a constant watch for corporate actions that can put pensions and the pension insurance program at greater risk,” PBGC Acting Director Vince Snowbarger said in a statement. “But in this instance, when Cooper Tire planned to close their Albany facility, they approached us to negotiate suitable pension funding protections like those announced today.”

Filed by Zack Phillips of Business Insurance, a sister publication of Workforce Management. To comment, e-mail

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