September 7, 2018
Quebec and international leaders of the United Steelworkers/Syndicat des Métallos union met with Alcoa executives to discuss potential pathways to resolving an eight-month lockout of workers at the ABI aluminum smelter in Bécancour, Que.
The tone of the meeting, held at Alcoa’s corporate headquarters in Pittsburgh, was “respectful,” said Steelworkers Quebec Director Alain Croteau.
“We discussed possible solutions that we could pursue to try to break the impasse,” said Croteau, who led the union delegation at today’s meeting along with Steelworkers’ International Vice-President Tom Conway. “The United Steelworkers union remains ready and willing to negotiate in good faith whenever the special mediator summons the parties back to the bargaining table.”
Former Quebec Premier Lucien Bouchard, appointed by the Quebec government as the special mediator in the labour dispute, also participated in today’s meeting at Alcoa headquarters.
The 1,030 unionized employees at the ABI smelter in Bécancour have been locked out of their jobs since Jan. 11 of this year. The labour dispute hinges on two key outstanding issues – pension plan changes and language related to seniority rights and employee turnover.
Union leaders, including the president of Steelworkers Local 9700 representing the locked-out ABI workers, are not commenting further on the meeting, given an anticipated resumption of bargaining.
The Syndicat des Métallos/United Steelworkers is the largest private-sector union in Quebec, representing 60,000 workers in all sectors of the economy.