Alcoa (AA), USW Reach Agreement on Effects of Alcoa/Arconic Separation

October 11, 2016 9:52 AM EDT

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The United Steelworkers (USW) announced that it has reached an agreement with Alcoa on the effects of the company's pending separation into two independent, publicly-traded businesses: Arconic and Alcoa Corporation.

"This agreement affirms that that current labor and benefits agreements will remain in force and that past interpretations, practices and arbitration history will be observed by both companies," said USW International President Leo W. Gerard.

"The separation raised serious concerns about retiree pension and health care obligations, and whether the new firms would be strong enough to fulfill the benefits promised to active employees and retirees," said USW International Vice President Tom Conway, chair of the union's Alcoa bargaining committee. "There were also practical issues on how several funds currently covering multiple facilities would be divided and administered following the split."

"We had numerous meetings with senior management of Alcoa and Arconic, reviewed extensive information on the structure and finances of both companies, and had discussions with the PBGC, the federal agency which insures the benefits of defined benefit pension plans," said Conway.

"The USW is pleased that the pension plan covering the hourly employees of Alcoa Corporation will be fully funded on an ERISA basis following the split," said Conway. "We are satisfied that the allocation of retiree pension and health care obligations is balanced and sustainable.

"Alcoa and the USW have a long, proud history together, and we wish both new companies much future success."

The master agreement between Alcoa and the USW covers approximately 6,000 employees at 12 locations, which produce alumina, primary aluminum, rolled products and aerospace extrusions. The agreement expires May 15, 2019.

The USW also represents over 2,900 employees at nine locations in the United States and Canada which have separate labor agreements. In June 2015, the USW successfully organized the 460 employees at the Alcoa Howmet plant in Hampton, Va.

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