Steelworkers to vote on tentative 4-year deal with Arconic

USW Local 105 union members hold a rally on Saturday as they get set to march to Arconic. The union and Arconic have reached a tentative contract deal.
Local 105 union members hold a rally on Saturday as they get set to march to Arconic. The union and Arconic have reached a tentative contract deal. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

Arconic and United Steelworkers (USW) union workers have reached a tentative four-year contract agreement that includes a 20% wage increase for workers over four years.

That agreement was reached on Saturday, May 14, shortly after members of USW Local 105 held a rally in front of Arconic Davenport Works. About 100 union members marched to the Riverdale plant from their nearby Bettendorf union hall.

United Steelworkers Local 105 members march in Bettendorf on Saturday, May 14. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

The tentative deal now will go to a vote by union members. Lee Shaffer, Local 105 guide, told the QCBJ on Monday afternoon, May 16, that union officials were still looking over the contract deal. A vote by union members had yet to be scheduled as of Monday afternoon.

We’ve reached a Tentative Agreement w/Arconic that is fully endorsed by your bargaining committee. Thanks to everyone’s solidarity and support,” according to a weekend posting on the Local 105 Facebook page.

Another post added: “The tentative agreement includes termination of PFP (Pay for Performance). The hourly wage increases are to make up for the termination.  Wages are something we can count on in overtime and our vacation rate.  We could never depend on PFP, which is variable pay, to pay out.  We can depend on our wages.”

“Fair Contract” signs cover the front lawn of the United Steelworkers Local 105 headquarters in Bettendorf. CREDIT DAVE THOMPSON

According to Local 105’s Facebook page, the deal – if approved – by union workers would:

  • Increase wages by 20%. Pay raises will include 7% in the first year and 4.5% in each of the next three years.
  • Include a signing bonus of $4,000 – $2,000 upon signing, and $2,000 in January 2023.
  • Maintain the current health care coverage with no premium increases.
  • Improve pensions.
  • Add Martin Luther King Jr. Day as a paid holiday.

During the Saturday, May 14, union rally, Mr. Shaffer, said local union officials had not heard a recent update on the contract talks and at the time he did not seem hopeful that a deal was within reach. “Last we heard, they were still far apart on economic issues,” he added.

Lee Shaffer

At least some Arconic workers seemed to be more optimistic about a deal in the works. Around noon on Saturday, Arconic employee Anthony Jones told the QCBJ that he heard that union and company representatives were getting close to an agreement.

“I think they will get an agreement. … This is all kind of a poker game,” he added.

The Arconic plant has about 2,400 workers including 1,800 who are members of Local 105.

After the tentative agreement was announced, John Riches, Arconic Davenport Works communications and public affairs manager released this statement on Sunday, May 15: “We believe this agreement accomplishes our goal of rewarding our employees for their commitment as essential workers while enabling our business to grow for future sustainability.” John Riches, communications and public affairs manager for Arconic-Davenport Works.

The USW announced the tentative agreement Saturday in a news release shortly after the rally. The union stated the four-year master contract covers about 3,400 workers at Davenport Works as well a s Arconic plants in Lafayette, Indiana; Massena, New York; and Alcoa, Tennessee.

“For their outstanding work through the pandemic and beyond, USW members have earned and deserve a fair agreement,” USW District 11 Director Emil Ramirez said in the release. “The unity and solidarity of our membership across all of the Arconic locations enabled us to negotiate improved security for our earnings, benefits and jobs in this contract.”

Members of the USW committee now will return to their locals to discuss the terms of the proposed agreement with workers with the unanimous recommendation that it be ratified, according to the union news release.

The current three-year contract expired at 11 a.m. Sunday, May 15. The last time the union went on strike was in 1986 when the local plant then was Alcoa Davenport Works. 

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