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Alcoa, union talks ongoing as Nov. 22 deadline nears

Keywords: Tags  Alcoa, United Steelworkers union, USW, Aluminerie de Becancour, ABI, aluminum, billet, Suzy Waite

NEW YORK — Labor contract discussions between Alcoa Inc. and the United Steelworkers union for the Pittsburgh producer’s Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. (ABI) smelter continue this week ahead of the Nov. 22 deadline.

The two parties, along with a conciliator, will meet Tuesday to try to hash out a new agreement for some 900 employees, members from both parties confirmed.

The parties have been meeting weekly since Sept. 11, sometimes three times per week, a USW spokesman told AMM.

After meeting with just the union, Alcoa in mid-October requested that a conciliator be present at all meetings going forward (, Oct. 11).

There are "some things still on the table," the USW spokesman told AMM Monday, declining to comment further.

"We’re still in discussions," an Alcoa spokeswoman said, adding that the company aims to come out with a contract that is fair for both parties and allows the Pittsburgh-based producer to remain competitive. She declined to offer additional details.

The ABI talks are a hot topic among producers and extruders, who speculate that tight North American billet supply—a paramount issue all year—could tighten further next year if the two parties fail to come to an agreement and the workers at the 400,000-tonne-per-year smelter go on strike.

Alcoa has already begun taking precautionary measures by offering only contingent billet supply agreements to ABI customers. These contingency plans state that the contracts will be null and void if Alcoa and the USW fail to reach an agreement by the deadline.

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