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Alcoa, ABI union extend contract talks

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

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 (, 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 (, 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 equation.

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