NEW YORK The union representing workers at Alcoa Inc.s Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. smelter in Bécancour, Quebec, began parking trailers in front of the facility Tuesday in anticipation of a lockout, a company spokeswoman told AMM.
The United Steelworkers union and the Pittsburgh-based producer have been working feverishly since mid-September to renew a labor contract set to expire Nov. 22.
"I can confirm that negotiations continue and the goal remains to reach an agreement that satisfies both parties and allows the plant to remain competitive," the spokeswoman said. "We continue to be optimistic that an agreement can be reached."
A United Steelworkers spokesman declined to comment.
Both sides have been meeting regularly since Sept. 11, sometimes as often as three times a week.
In mid-October, Alcoa requested that a conciliator be present at all meetings going forward (amm.com, Oct. 11).
If the two sides fail to come to an agreement and the 900 union workers at the 400,000-tonne-per-year plant either go on strike or are locked out, participants in the industry agree that it would make North American billet, in tight supply for much of 2012, even more scarce next year.