CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Constellium Rolled Products executives on Thursday welcomed union workers' decision to accept a new five-year contract offer at the company's aluminum plant in Ravenswood.
In a secret ballot conducted Wednesday, members of United Steelworkers of America Local 5668 voted to approve the new contract. Constellium officials had said the contract would be its last offer to the workers, who had been on strike since Aug. 5.
Constellium employs about 1,000 people at its Ravenswood plant, 700 of whom are union members.
Many of the company's other 300 employees worked during the strike to produce some aluminum products, which were shipped out in tractor-trailers throughout the work stoppage.
In a statement released Thursday morning, Constellium said the new contract gives union employees 2.5 percent pay raises each year of the contract, plus an immediate $7,500 bonus for ratifying the contract.
The contract makes some cuts to health benefits, including a transition to a plan in 2013 that will pay for 95 percent of families' eligible charges.
Employees themselves will not pay for health-care premiums until 2017, and those rates still will be significantly less than half the national average for health-care insurance, according to the company's statement. Family health coverage still will cost only $17.31 per week.
Kyle Lorentzen, CEO at Constellium's Ravenswood plant, said, "We believe the new contract provides a solid foundation on which we can continue to build Ravenswood's future.
"This five-year agreement provides employees with generous pay increases, families with affordable health-care coverage, and the facility with much-needed control over runaway health-care costs. We appreciate everyone's assistance in getting this contract approved."
After Constellium workers went on strike, Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin called both sides to a meeting with federal mediators. The company made an offer after that, but the union decided last weekend not to vote on that offer.
Several other political leaders, including U.S. Sens. Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, both D-W.Va., and Leo Gerard, international president of the United Steelworkers, urged local union leaders to hold a vote on the offer. Union members discussed the offer Tuesday and voted Wednesday.
"There are people who are disappointed with the vote on both sides, but the majority has spoken and we have to get back to business as usual," Randy Moore, the USW subdirector, said after Wednesday's vote.
Larry Matheney, secretary-treasurer of the West Virginia AFL-CIO, said Thursday that he is proud of Moore, Local 5668 President Jason Miller and union negotiators.