Union says it will support tentative Alcoa deal

Massena Alcoa workers react as New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announces a deal that will keep the plant open for another seven years. United Steelworkers announced Friday that they had reached a tentative agreement on a master contract with Alcoa, and would be recommending that their membership ratify it. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — United Steelworkers officials say they’ll be recommending that their membership ratify a tentative agreement with Alcoa, which was announced Friday.

“The proposed contract builds on decades of collective bargaining progress with hard-fought economic and non-economic improvements. Our members have earned and deserve fair wages, benefits and working conditions,” United Steelworkers District 7 Director Michael Millsap said in a statement.

Mr. Millsap had chaired the union’s negotiations with Alcoa.

The details of the tentative agreement will not be released to the public until after the union’s membership has had an opportunity to review it with its elected union representatives in the coming days and weeks, according to a United Steelworkers press release. Negotiating committee delegates are returning to their local unions to conduct membership meetings and arrange ratification votes.

In Massena, informational meetings to review the details of the tentative agreement are scheduled for 7:30 a.m., 2:15 p.m., 3:15 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Friday. Information about the vote will be disseminated later, according to Local 420-A President Mark A. Goodfellow.

“We came to the table months ago prepared to negotiate in good faith for a fair contract, but management made us fight for it every step of the way,” United Steelworkers International President Tom Conway said in a statement. “We are proud of what we have accomplished due to the unity, strength and solidarity of local union leaders, members and Contract Action Teams.”

The approximately 357 Alcoa employees and about 132 Arconic employees in Massena have continued working under the terms and conditions of a contract that expired May 15. Negotiations broke off hours before the contracts were set to expire, and the negotiating committee, Alcoa and Arconic agreed to extend the contracts while negotiations proceeded, subject to termination with written notice by either party.

After the union ratified a new three-year contract with Arconic on June 28, members began negotiations with Alcoa. Those talks resumed July 17.

The agreement impacts about 1,700 active employees at five U.S. locations — Massena, Warrick Operations in Indiana, Gum Springs in Arkansas, Wenatchee Works in Washington and Point Comfort in Texas.

Most of the union members eligible to vote on the proposed Master Agreement are employed at Warrick Operations, where the union represents employees at the aluminum smelter and rolling mill, and at the Massena Operations smelter. The Point Comfort alumina refinery and the Wenatchee Works aluminum smelter are both fully curtailed.

Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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