Tower Automotive Workers Given Another Week To Settle Labor Cost Cuts

Bankrupt supplier has had deadline extended nine times.

WASHINGTON (AP) - A judge gave Tower Automotive Inc. and its unions one more week to work out an agreement on cutting labor costs, extending the deadline for the ninth time.

Judge Allan Gropper of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Manhattan said in a court order Thursday that he extended the deadline to July 7 at the request of Novi, Mich.-based Tower and three big unions.

The previous deadline was June 27.

Gropper said he was prepared to extend the deadline again if necessary.

Tower said that Gropper has indicated he will delay ruling on Tower's union contracts as long as negotiations continue.

Tower is one of a growing number of automobile-parts manufacturers that have fallen into bankruptcy amid production cuts by the biggest U.S. auto makers. The company filed for Chapter 11 protection from creditors more than a year ago, listing $1.3 billion in debts.

The company has said it needs to reduce labor costs by at least $30 million if it is to emerge from bankruptcy. It sought Gropper's permission to scrap its contract with its main labor union, the United Auto Workers. But amid strike threats, Tower opted to continue settlement negotiations.

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