LISTERHILL — The United Steelworkers at Wise Alloys on Wednesday approved a five-year labor agreement, the third company proposal since Nov. 5, company officials announced.
The 419 members of Steelworkers Local 200 voted throughout the day after a tentative agreement was reached Tuesday night between the company and union officials.
The Steelworkers had turned down proposals Nov. 5 and Nov. 8.
Wes Oberholzer, executive vice president and chief operating officer for Wise, said the agreement solidifies a foundation for the company and employees.
“A five-year agreement offers a solid foundation on which to continue to build our future,” Oberholzer said.
“It sends a strong message to our customers, investors and our community in the Shoals area that Wise is a strong and reliable partner.
“Our new agreement benefits employees and the company by providing the ability to plan for the future over a longer period of time. Employees are assured of wage improvement and the company can better forecast costs.”
Joe Pampinto, senior vice president and plant manager, said Wise and its employees have shown they are a good team.
“The plant has made huge strides in the last several years in safety, quality and production, and this agreement is another positive chapter in our journey to success in a tremendously competitive market,” Pampinto said.
“Our employees are critical to this journey of success, and we are pleased they voted to ratify this agreement.”
Wise Metals Group is the holding company whose divisions include Wise Alloys, the nation’s third-largest producer of aluminum can stock for the beverage and food industries.
The group also owns Wise Recycling, Total Maintenance Center and Alabama Electric Motor Service.
Wise Metals moved its corporate headquarters to the Shoals in 2011.
Information about the agreement was unavailable, but Wise officials said earlier this month the average base wage for production workers at the plant is $22 per hour.
Ken Hunt, president of the local Steelworkers, had said there were three central issues in the negotiations: forced overtime, a proposed three-tier pay system and rising health insurance costs.
Steelworkers representatives began negotiating with company officials in mid-October. When a new contract was not reached by 11:59 p.m. Nov. 1, the time the old contract was to expire, negotiations were allowed to continue because both sides voiced optimism that an agreement was close.
Contracts were approved in October by the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 320 and Carpenter Union, both of which represent employees at Wise Alloys.
The company has major long-term contracts with various firms, including Anheuser-Busch InBev and Coca-Cola Co.
Bernie Delinski can be reached at 256-740-5739 or bernie.delinski@TimesDaily.com.