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
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.