NEW YORK Alcoa Inc. and
the United Steelworkers union agreed to a five-day extension of
a contract covering more than 900 workers at its Aluminerie de
Bécancour Inc. (ABI) smelter in Quebec.
The labor contract will now run
through Nov. 27, allowing both parties more time to reach a new
agreement, an Alcoa spokeswoman told AMM. The contract
was initially set to expire Nov. 22.
Union representatives did not
respond to a request for comment.
Both parties have met regularly
since Sept. 11 in efforts to renew the contract for the workers
at the 400,000-tonne-per-year smelter.
The USW began parking trailers
in front of the ABI smelter in early November in anticipation
of either a lockout or a strike earlier this month (
amm.com, Nov. 13).
If Alcoa and the union fail to
reach an agreement and either a lockout or strike results,
already tight billet supply will become even more scarce in
2013, according to other producers and consumers.
A combination of tight supply
and decent demand pushed spot billet premiums to between 12 and
13 cents per pound for most of 2012, and encouraged producers
to push contract premiums up by an average of 2 cents per pound
for 2013 (
amm.com, Sept. 27).
Despite a softening in spot
billet premiums to between 11 and 13 cents per pound in
November due to year-end seasonality, most agree that premiums
could increase further next year if ABI is taken out of the