Last week’s “final offer” from Alcoa Corporation to the striking workers at Aluminerie de Bécancour Inc. will be put to a vote on Tuesday when the labor union meets to consider the offer that morning.
Officials from United Steelworkers Local 9700 made the announcement on Thursday, the day after Alcoa delivered the offer to the union. Alcoa says workers have until the end of the business week to accept the offer. Should the union agree to Alcoa’s terms, the plant would begin the restart process three weeks later. However, if the union passes on the offer, Alcoa says it will commence full curtailment of the smelter at once.
Sources inside USW were tight lipped overall, but one anonymous source said the offer was “not much” better than past proposals. That source said that results from the vote will likely be available by the end of the day on Tuesday.
A separate press statement released by ABI on Wednesday said the offer increases funds for pensions, “reduce subcontracting and allocate more paid hours for union business than the last offer, which was rejected in March.”
ABI went on to say that the offer now on the table would have workers back on the job sooner than prior offers and would give benefits to individuals on the recall list.
“This proposed contract would get all employees back to work sooner and according to a defined schedule,” elaborated an ABI official at a press conference last week. “The contract calls for the restart to officially begin on July 26, lasting about 10 months.”
“For those not back on the job within five months of the restart date, ABI will pay those employees C$635 (US$485) per week after taxes, the same amount currently paid by the union,” the ABI spokesman continued.
ABI’s plant has run at diminished capacity since early last year after hourly workers began striking. The labor contract previously in place expired in the fall of 2017, and, with no new contract in place after the end of the 90-day grace period, hourly workers walked off the job. Salaried employees kept one of the three potlines running at half capacity for several months before ABI drew down production at the line.