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Ironworkers plan to resume Alcoa picket

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MASSENA - The ironworkers plan on resuming a picket at Alcoa soon, according to Local 440 Business Manager Robert J. Cole.

The informational picket, which began Aug. 30 at the entrances to Alcoa’s Massena West Plant, went on hiatus nearly a week ago. The ironworkers had been protesting Alcoa for letting a Texas company repair the cast house roof which was damaged in a March fire.

CCC Group of San Antonio brought 24 of its own workers here and hired four local employees, Alcoa spokeswoman Laurie A. Marr said previously. That drew the ire of Ironworkers Local 440, which had planned to hire 32 of its own to work there.

Earlier this week, representatives from the union and Fluor, the project management firm Alcoa retains to award contracts, met to discuss that contract. The picket was on hold during those meetings as a “good faith measure,” union officials previously said.

Those discussions, which ironworkers had hoped would lead to more local laborers on the site, did not go well, Mr. Cole said.

“They came and listened to us. I think their mind was made up already,” Mr. Cole said. “I think it was maybe a ploy to get us off the (picket) line.”

In the meetings, Fluor officials said the ironworkers had “some good merits,” Mr. Cole said. But Fluor was sticking with the CCC Group because of expense. Ms. Marr had previously said the CCC Group was the lowest bidder by a “significant margin,” but would not disclose by how much.

Mr. Cole said the picket could resume over the weekend or early next week.

“We’re just finalizing some details so we can get everything situated,” Mr. Cole said.

Once the picket resumes, Mr. Cole said it will continue indefinitely. He hoped Fluor and Alcoa would still reconsider as the project proceeded.

“Maybe they’ll a realize a month into the project that they’re not getting nowhere,” Mr. Cole said. “I tell my men there’s still a chance.”

Nearly 160 ironworkers live near the Alcoa plant, on the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation and in Massena, Paul Sirianni, marketing representative for the New York state Ironworkers District Council, previously said. The selection of CCC takes work away from them and, in turn, hurts the local economy, he said.

Alcoa spokeswoman Lori K. Lecker said in an email Friday that work on the roof replacement project has been continuing. Fluor officials could not be reached for comment.

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