After 29 sleepless hours, Rio Tinto Alcan (RTA) has reached a tentative agreement with its unionized workers.
Starting at 7 a.m. yesterday and finishing at noon today, representatives from the Canadian Autoworkers Union (CAW) Local 2301 and RTA kneaded out a temporary contract to replace the one that expired at midnight last night.
This contract came in time to stop a looming strike, as 72 hour notice was given to RTA last Friday. The new but not-yet-final contract includes increased worker pay and benefits among other things, and both parties are pleased with the result.
“We think it’s a good deal for both the employees and the company and it’s for 5 years,” said RTA spokesperson Colleen Nyce. “All of our agreements cover off employees who work in the smelter and employees who work in our powerhouse in Kemano.”
Nyce said the contract negotiated is a standard type contract.
“We negotiated wages and we negotiated certain other operational benefits for the employees,” she said. “The tone of the negotiations was very good and both parties worked very diligently and respectfully to reach and agreement and they did so without a labour stopping so we’re very pleased about that.”
Some of the contract details were released in a CAW Local 2301 press release this afternoon and full details will be provided to members later this week.
According to the release, some of the contract features include:
- • 5 year agreement
- • Wages: Year 1 – 3%, Year 2 – 2.5%, Year 3 – 2.5%, Year 4 – 2.5%, Year 5 – 3%
- • Job security letter (no lay-offs) re-signed
- • All temporary workers hired to full-time
- • Five terminated temporary welders hired to full-time
- • $2500.00 Signing bonus for regulars, temporaries and LTD members
- • Agreement on classifications for workers in the KMP
- • Pension multiplier increases
- • Retiree benefits increases
- • Active employee benefit increases
- • Increases to Shift, Weekend, Skilled Trades and Kemano premiums
Contract ratification meetings will be held Thursday July 26 at 7 p.m. and Friday July 27th at 7 a.m. in the Mount Elizabeth High School Gym.