CHICAGO A United Steelworkers union negotiating committee has recommended that workers at Alcoa Inc.s majority-owned Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. (ABI) accept a proposed labor contract covering 900 employees at the Quebec smelter.
Union members are expected to vote on the proposed contract Feb. 21 and 22, according to both the USW and Pittsburgh-based Alcoa.
The negotiating committee for USW Local 9700, which represents workers at ABI, said it would recommend that the contract be approved following the Feb. 10 resumption of negotiations in the presence of a government conciliator.
Alcoa confirmed that negotiations between the USW and ABI had been concluded. "The union will be taking the contract before its members ... and we are hopeful employees will accept the proposal," an Alcoa spokeswoman said in a Feb. 19 e-mail to AMM. In the meantime, "production is ongoing, and we continue to meet the needs of our customers."
The union negotiating committee had asked workers at ABI to reject a previous contract offer just days after it was presented (amm.com, Feb. 7). But a vote on that contract, which initially was characterized as a final offer, was postponed when talks resumed (amm.com, Feb. 13).
Alcoa and the USW have been trying to reach a new labor agreement at the 400,000-tonne-per-year ABI smelter since September. A previous labor agreement expired in November (amm.com, Jan. 4).
Some market sources expressed concern that a potential strike or lockout could squeeze aluminum billet supply and lead to higher premiums. But others countered that it would be surprising for the two sides not to reach an agreement after having talked for so many months.