By Paul Ploumis 15 Jun 2015 Last updated at 08:27:09 GMT
ASHLAND (Scrap Monster): The union members belonging to United Steelworkers have ratified the latest agreement put forward by the company as a solution to end the one-month long lockout at Century Aluminum’s Hawesville, Kentucky smelter. Meantime, Century Aluminum confirmed that the new labor agreement ratified by the union members will take effect Friday, June 12th and will run through April 1st, 2020.
The tentative five-year deal was reached between USW Local 9423 and the company management after a series of negotiations in the presence of a federal mediator. According to company spokesperson, the new deal offers 13.75% raise in wages over the five-year period- 2.5% in the first year and 2.75% in the succeeding four years.
According to union spokesperson, the counting which came to an end at around 8:00 pm local time on Friday had indicated 68% support from amongst nearly 560 workers belonging to the union. Accordingly, the members will return to duty effective first shift at 7:00 am CDT on June 15th.
The operations at the Hawesville smelter were continuing in normal mode with the help of temporary workers not belonging to the union. With the union striking a deal with the company, the temporary workers will be terminated with immediate effect.
Earlier in May this year, nearly 500 employees were locked out after voting against a new contract over differences of opinion with reference to forced overtime and retiree health care benefits.
Century Aluminum’s Hawesville operations have a production capacity of 244,000 mt per annum. In addition to this, the company owns and operates 205,000 mt/year Sebree smelter about 50 miles away in western Kentucky; the 224,000 mt/year Mt. Holly smelter in South Carolina; and the 260,000 mt/year Grundartangi smelter in Iceland. Century's corporate offices are located in Chicago, IL.