Union ratifies contract with Arconic

The contract between United Steelworkers and Arconic is a done deal. During a day-long vote on Wednesday, which wrapped up at 8 p.m., members approved ratifying the four-year deal running from May 16, 2022, through May 15, 2026. Christopher Lenney/Watertown Daily Times

MASSENA — The contract between United Steelworkers and Arconic is a done deal.

During a day-long vote on Wednesday, which wrapped up at 8 p.m., members approved ratifying the four-year deal running from May 16, 2022, through May 15, 2026.

The final tally was not immediately available.

The contract covers workers in Massena; Davenport, Iowa; Alcoa, Tennessee; and Lafayette, Indiana, all of whom cast their ballots on Wednesday.

Officials announced on May 14 that they had reached a tentative agreement hours before the contract was set to expire at noon on May 15.

“We were back and forth with the company numerous times. Some cooler heads prevailed and we thought we walked out with a pretty good deal,” Local 420-A President Mark A. Goodfellow said.

After reaching the tentative agreement, officials met with members of their local unions to share the details.

“We had a couple people voice their opinions on certain things they didn’t like. But, overall I think it went pretty well,” Mr. Goodfellow said.

The agreement includes a 7% wage increase for all job grades in May 2022, and 4.5% wage increases in May 2023, May 2024 and May 2025.

A $4,000 essential worker appreciation bonus will be paid in two installments — $2,000 on June 9 and 10 this year and another $2,000 on Jan. 12 and 13, 2023.

Employees with six months, but less than 10 years of seniority are eligible for two weeks of vacation effective June 1, 2022, under the agreement. Martin Luther King Jr. Day on the third Monday in January has also been added as a new paid holiday.

Shift premiums are increased from 39 cents to 55 cents per hour for afternoon shifts and from 64 cents to 90 cents per hour for night shifts. The schedule premium increases from 30 cents to 42 cents per hour.

The agreement eliminates the plant-level Pay for Performance Plans, in favor of larger wage increases. The Pay for Performance Plans were first negotiated in 1993 to replace an underperforming profit-sharing plan. The original goal was to share profits and gains while focusing employees on the critical business goals. A portion of the payout was tied to corporate financial performance and a portion was based on business unit location measurements.

The agreement also improves benefits under the pension plan for current employees. The pension factors or “multipliers” under the defined benefit pension plans that covered employees hired before June 23, 2006, and employees hired on or after June 23, 2006 and before Jan. 1, 2020, all increased by $6 per month per year of service, effective for retirements occurring on or after May 16, 2022. For an employee with 30 years of service, this is an increase of $180 per month.

The agreement includes no increases in employee health care contribution rates, deductibles, out-of-pocket maximums or co-insurance. The maximum medical copay increases from $60 to $80 per prescription for non-preferred brand prescriptions filled at retail and from $120 to $150 per prescription for non-preferred brand prescriptions filled through mail order, effective Jan. 1, 2023.

Employees hired or rehired after Jan. 1, 2020, will no longer be eligible for retiree life insurance benefits after retirement. Instead, they will have the retiree health care contribution to their 401(k) savings account increased by 5 cents per hour.

The company’s retiree health care costs are capped for employees who retired after May 31, 1993. The cost of retiree health care benefits in excess of the caps is paid for by a non-cash Retiree Health Care Account under the labor agreement.

Employees hired or rehired on or after July 1, 2010, are not eligible for retiree health care benefits. Instead, they receive a company retiree health care contribution into their 401(k) savings account. Effective Jan. 1, 2023, the company contribution will increase to 50 cents from the current 40 cents per hour worked. Employees hired on or after Jan. 1, 2020 will receive a company contribution into their 401(k) savings account of 55 cents per hour effective Jan. 1, 2023, to reflect their ineligibility for retiree life insurance.

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(1) comment

HotelMike

“The agreement includes a 7% wage increase” with inflation at a 41 year high of 8.5% a 7% pay raise isn’t all that great. Do the marh.

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