Kentucky Aluminum Plant Nears Lockout

A Kentucky aluminum smelter appears on the brink of a work stoppage after union workers rejected a proposed labor agreement.

A Kentucky aluminum smelter appears on the brink of a work stoppage after union workers rejected a proposed labor agreement.

Members of United Steelworkers Local 9423, which represents 570 workers at Century Aluminum's Hawesville plant, reportedly voted against the company's latest offer on Monday.

The vote followed Century's decision to issue a notice to those workers indicating a lockout would begin on May 11 if the union rejected its "last, best and final proposal."

Company officials said the lockout would enable the plant to continue operating in the event of a strike. They said the latest offer would have increased wages by 15 percent over a five year period while offering balanced overtime and affordable health care.

USW negotiators countered that the contract did not resolve concerns about insurance rates, time away from work and the rights of future union members. Reports indicated the union rejected two previous proposals since negotiations began in February.

The facility near the Indiana border is the fourth-largest among the nation's eight smelters and produces nearly 15 percent of the country's overall aluminum smelting capacity.

Should a work stoppage take effect, it would be the first at a U.S. aluminum smelter in more than 10 years. 

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