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Intalco Workers Will Vote
on New Contract Proposal

by John Stark
Bellingham Herald, October 25, 2011

(Philip A. Dwyer) Workers start aluminum smelter pots on potline B at the Alcoa Intalco aluminum smelter west of Ferndale, Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 15, 2011. Intalco has also hired 60 more people. Union employees at Alcoa Intalco Works are expected to vote Thursday and Friday, Oct. 27 and 28, on a new contract proposal from the company.

Intalco spokesman Josh Wilund said the new contract emerged from talks conducted Sunday, Oct. 23.

Mike Goddard, assistant director of the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, said the union's negotiating committee is neutral on the new offer, and won't recommend a yes or no vote to members of Local 2379.

"These are smart people," Goddard said. "The entire vote is up to the members in this plant."

Goddard said management's latest offer to the approximately 500 employees appears to contain no additional money beyond what was included in the contract offer that the union rejected in an Oct. 14 vote. But the new offer distributes the money in a different way.

He declined to offer more details.

The union members have voted to authorize a strike, but they also have agreed to remain on the job while talks continue. On Saturday, Oct. 22, the company dismissed replacement workers who had been hired to take over operations at the aluminum smelter in case of a union walkout.

Union representatives have said a key issue is the cost of a new medical coverage plan the company is proposing.

Negotiations began between the union and the company in August.

The union contends that workers made significant sacrifices when the future of the facility was in doubt in recent years as the company negotiated with the Bonneville Power Administration on power rates. The company negotiated a short-term contract with BPA last year and in February restarted previously idled capacity, adding around 60 jobs and increasing production by about 40,000 metric tons per year.

John Stark
Intalco Workers Will Vote on New Contract Proposal
Bellingham Herald, October 25, 2011

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