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Machinists ratify new labor deal at Intalco, urge BPA power deal

With members’ approval of new 5-year contract, BPA power deal is final step to modernizing and restarting aluminum smelter  


The following is from the International Association of Machinists (IAM):

FERNDALE, Wash. (May 20, 2022) — IAM Local 2379 (District 160) members at Intalco Works, a Washington State aluminum manufacturing plant, have overwhelmingly ratified a five-year collective bargaining agreement with Blue Wolf Capital Partners, one of the last steps toward reopening and modernizing the facility and restoring hundreds of jobs in Whatcom County.

The final remaining hurdle for IAM Local 2379 members in Ferndale, Wash., is the absence of a power agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA). The BPA previously provided electricity for Intalco Works for 50 years. A reopened and modernized aluminum manufacturing plant would be one of only two green aluminum smelters in the United States. The reopening of this plant would also reduce aluminum imports from Russia, China, and the Middle East.

The agreement builds upon the previous collective bargaining agreement with improvements to wages and benefits, quarterly bonuses, and job protections.

“Our members at IAM Local 2379 have endured so many ups and downs over restarting the aluminum plant and securing an agreement with the Bonneville Power Authority,” said IAM Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “Our members need elected officials in the state of Washington and Washington, DC to help bring relief for hundreds of working families in Whatcom County. The members earned this contract that will serve a model in the aluminum manufacturing industry.”

Highlights of the agreements include:

  • Improvements in wages, performance bonus plan, paid sick leave, paid vacation, overtime distribution, and new employee starting wages.
  • Quarterly retention bonuses
  • Seniority will be honored for previous employees, meaning they don’t have to start over with wages, vacation, etc.
  • Guaranteed equity in the new company; if there is a sale in the future, employees and retirees will get a payout.
  • Generous 401(k) contribution and match

“The IAM has committed our full resources to help restore the hundreds of strategic manufacturing jobs at Intalco Works,” said IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr. “We need our allies to do everything possible to reopen the facility. Restarting the operations at Intalco Works is an opportunity to reverse bad policy decisions and secure a victory under the policies implemented by the Biden-Harris Administration. Our union is urging the U.S. Department of Energy and the Bonneville Power Administration to restore the power agreement to help make our nation less reliant on aluminum imports from foreign enemies.”

The Ferndale City Council recently passed a resolution calling on BPA to restore power to the Intalco Works aluminum manufacturing plant. A 2019 economic report developed by Western Washington University highlighted the economic multiplier of creating manufacturing jobs in the region.

The IAM will continue working with the State of Washington, former members of management, and Blue Wolf Capital Partners to reopen and modernize the Intalco Works.

The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers is one of the largest and most diverse industrial trade unions in North America, representing approximately 600,000 active and retired members in the aerospace, defense, airlines, railroad, transit, healthcare, automotive, and other industries.


PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:

State’s manufacturing unions urge BPA power deal for Intalco (May 9)
BPA power deal is the last hurdle to restarting Intalco (by Larry Brown, March 14)
Larsen to BPA: ‘Work in good faith’ for deal to restart Intalco (March 14)
IAM, WSLC secure federal aid for laid-off Alcoa Intalco workers (July 9, 2020)

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