NEW MADRID -- Noranda employees will see improved wages and retirement benefits as a result of a new labor agreement, which took effect Saturday.
Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation, which owns Noranda Aluminum Inc., announced the new five-year agreement between the company and the United Steelworkers Local 7686 in a Wednesday.
This is the third consecutive five-year agreement, which provides for wage increases each year as well as improvements in pension and other benefit plans.
"We are pleased to have successfully concluded negotiation on this five-year contract that is fair to both our employees and the company and will allow us to continue focusing on meeting the needs of our customers in an increasingly competitive global economy," Keith Gregston, primary products president, said in a prepared news release.
As with any other contract, this one included some compromise.
"Wages, pensions and insurance were the three big issues," said Ronny M. Marks, president of the local union. "We made gains in two of the three"
A hit was taken on the issue of insurance. "We're paying a lot more premium and getting a little less coverage," Marks said. "But this was nationwide -- it was nothing that we weren't expecting."
Union members voted to approve the contract on Aug. 17. There were 453 yes votes and 308 voted against the measure. The 761 voters made up a record turnout, Marks commented.
"Overall, the majority spoke," Marks said. "They said they could live with it, and the good outweighed the bad."
Noranda Aluminum Holding Corporation is a leading integrated producer of value-added primary aluminum products, as well as high quality rolled aluminum coils. The New Madrid facility is a 254,000 metric ton primary aluminum smelter. It is one of the largest foil producers in North American and a major producer of light gauge sheet products.