Union leaders at Alcoa's two Massena plants say the number of early retirements and severance buyouts from voluntary resignations are enough so no one should face involuntary job losses when the East plant closes this spring.

About 170 hourly workers at the East and West plants have accepted early retirement incentives that go into effect April 1.

Those incentives include a $25,000 lump sum payment and another $500 for each year worked to avert the need for massive job losses.

Workers already eligible to retire would get an extra two years added.

"Roughly about 150 retirees that took the early-out option to retire, 30 that have taken the option to quit and move on with their life and the remaining number that's left at the East plant now have the option to bid over to the West plant opening that were also created out of these early retirements," said David LaClair, Local 450-A president.

It is not known exactly how many salaried workers accepted similar incentives.

Workers at the East plant can now bid on job openings vacated by negotiated incentives at the West plant by seniority.

Workers that may be left over would be used to decommission the East plant in advance of a corporate decision on a multi-million dollar modernization project and smelter.
 
Robert Smith represents hourly workers at the West plant.

He said the union locals and Alcoa were creative in reaching agreements that keep people on the job.

"We developed an apprenticeship program. We also developed a classification within our plant which will allow us to do tasks that are currently contracted out," said Robert Smith, Local 420-A president.

Alcoa and the unions will sit down at the bargaining table in April to begin negotiations on a new labor agreement with the United Steelworkers.