Management at Aluminerie de Bécancour (ABI) has tendered to the plant’s labor union United Steelworkers what it classifies as the “final” contract offer in hopes that it breaks the labor dispute that has idled the plant for over a year.
The firm, which is a joint venture between Alcoa Corporation (75 percent) and Rio Tinto Group (25 percent), says the proposed pay increase surpasses the expected inflation rate of 2.55 percent over the life of the six-year deal.
According to management, the proposed deal will likely not result in layoffs and will recognize seniority at the plant, which are issues found at the heart of the disagreement. Instead, the company says it will utilize retirements at the plant to bolster its overall productivity.
ABI has requested that the union make a decision by March 18. For its part, the union said it is examining the offer, but it has not made any commitments to it beyond that. The union did not reveal whether or not it would present the offer to its members.
The plant, which has a nameplate aluminium smelting capacity of 450 thousand metric tons per annum, has been shuttered since January of last year after the prior labor agreement expired and no new deal was reached in the interim. The plant’s workforce of over one thousand individuals has been locked out since that time.
Prior to this latest offer, United Steelworkers pitched an offer of binding arbitration late last month, which UBI rejected out of hand.