December 27, 2006 — A new, four-year labor contract with Alcoa Inc. was approved by United Autoworkers members at the producer's Cleveland Works, ending an eight-week strike. The UAW had earlier rejected a contract comparable to one approved by members of the Steelworkers and Machinists unions. The plant has been operated by salaried workers since November 6.
Alcoa's Cleveland Works is a forging operation that produces a range of wheels for cars and trucks, along with a range of forgings for aerospace and industrial markets.
Neither the union nor the company detailed specific contents of the new contract, agreed to in principle on December 24. It is described by Alcoa as improving the Cleveland Works' competitive capabilities; preserves employees' wage and benefits packages; installs new medical and prescription-drug plans, including employee cost-sharing; provides continued health-care coverage for retirees — but limits Alcoa's long-term liability; increases wages and introduces company matching to the 401(k) savings plan; and institutes a new attendance policy and caps overtime scheduling.
The last point had been described by Alcoa as a stumbling block to further negotiations soon after the strike began.
"Compromises were made by both Alcoa and UAW Local 1050 that have resulted in a fair and competitive multi-year labor agreement," Cleveland Works plant manager Brett McBrayer stated. "We are very pleased to have a contract that will help make Cleveland Works more globally competitive and secure jobs here in Cleveland."