Alcoa and union workers sit at the negotiating table this week as the two sides try to find common ground in a new contract for thousands of workers.
It could until the May 15 deadline before Alcoa and United Steel Workers reach an agreement. Local reps from Warrick County are in Pittsburgh aiming for a fair deal.
From the outside, Alcoa looks like it always has. Cars and trucks buzz around the building and the smokestacks roll with life.
But from the inside, some workers say it feels a lot different and the work environment isn’t what it used to be.
“The workforce is so tired,” said an Alcoa employee who wants to be anonymous. “Lot of mandatory overtime.”
The Alcoa worker said he fears punishment for talking to the media. He said workers are worried about their future amid contract talks.
“It’s their livelihood at stake.”
USW Local 104 President, Chris Horn said it was premature to say anything about the negotiations over the phone but said the stakes don’t feel any different this year than they have in years past.
Horn said workers are fortunate the smelter is open.
Warrick county operations has 34 positions listed for hire on its website. Some say it has forced workers into extra hours and low manpower leads to low morale inside Alcoa.
“It messes with people’s lives, messes with their minds. You’re here to make a living and provide for your family, but you also want to have time to spend with that family.”
Alcoa officials could not comment on negotiations or how it may affect working hours. Eyewitness News is still waiting on an official comment regarding claims of forced overtime.
The anonymous employee thinks a worker strike is unlikely but believes it is possible a work stoppage could happen.