Century promised lifelong health benefits in contracts signed with the USWA, Gorrell said.
Along with other retirees and their relatives, Gorrell began holding what they called an "Occupy" encampment outside Century Aluminum's gates in Ravenswood, beginning on Dec. 19.
Gorrell, who could not be reached for comment, and other Century retirees and spouses traveled to both Charleston and Pittsburgh last week to negotiate with company and government officials.
Rockefeller said, "The union, retirees, and especially Karen Gorrell have been tireless in their efforts. Every retiree across this country deserves someone as passionate and fearless as Karen on their side.
"I also appreciate that the company, under the leadership of Mike Bless, has stepped up to make this deal happen," Rockefeller said.
In February 2009, when it shut its Ravenswood plant down, Century promised to continue providing health benefits to "early retirees" -- workers who retired between the ages of 55 and 65 -- as well as to workers who were already retired, as required under its United Steelworkers contract.
But on Jan. 1, 2011, Century cut off all health coverage for early retirees. Century agreed to pay COBRA premiums to let those retirees keep health insurance for six months. That health coverage ended last July. (COBRA stands for Consolidated Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act.)
The other aluminum plant, adjacent to Century's plant, is today operated by Alcan Rolled Products.
Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp. first opened the aluminum smelting and rolling complex back in 1958. Kaiser operated it until 1989, when they sold it to Ravenswood Aluminum, which later sold the facilities to their two current owners.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.