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Continental Tire Faces Class-Action Lawsuit [01/10/2007]
Continental Tire North America Inc. retirees have filed a class-action lawsuit against the company over medical benefits. The suit was filed in the U.S. District Court in Ohio.

The former employees allege Continental breached agreements promising lifetime health-insurance coverage by announcing it will shift a large part of the cost of retiree medical coverage from the company to the retirees and surviving spouses.

The retirees claim the rights to receive medical benefits were earned and vested over decades of service at Continental Tire. Lawyers for the company claim Continental is restructuring their retiree medical program as part of cost-cutting measures in order to position the company to compete.

Continental Tire, part of Germany-based Continental AG, operates its North American headquarters in Charlotte. In July, the company ceased tire production, eliminating 481 jobs. The company cited high manufacturing costs, escalating expenses for energy and raw materials and declining business conditions in the company's North American passenger and light-truck tire businesses.

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