Alcoa and New York State have struck a deal to maintain the company's low-cost power supply from the New York Power Authority while maintaining their modernization project at Alcoa East.
According to a news release from the governor's office, the company will maintain 750 jobs at the west plant and provide training for the east plant's future workforce, once the modernized pot line in installed. The existing pot line will be decommissioned and torn down.
However, as recently as last summer, Gov. Andrew Cuomo was quoted as saying 1,000 jobs would be guaranteed.
The apprenticeship programs, which are for three or four years, will provide training in electrical, mechanical and machine work, according to an Alcoa news release. The company expects 50 employees to participate.
Both releases add that the New York Power Authority will reduce the amount of power they supply to Alcoa and waive two utility charges on Alcoa's monthly bills until the new line is operational.
“Even though today signals the end of one smelting era at Massena East, Governor Cuomo’s announcement today hopefully lays the foundation for a future smelting era in Massena,” David W. LaClair Jr., president of United Steelworkers Local 450-A said. They represent about 270 laborers at Alcoa east.
On Jan. 15, Alcoa announced that it would permanently close the remaining potlines at Massena East because they were no longer competitive in the current aluminum market where prices have dropped significantly.
All 332 Alcoa east employees affected by the closure have since taken voluntary incentive programs, job transfers or training programs, according to a news release from Alcoa.
“Anything we can do cooperatively to maintain employment levels at Alcoa and make good use of NYPA’s hydropower is positive news for Massena," Massena Town Supervisor Joseph Gray said in a news release. "We are still hopeful modernization will proceed on schedule. Until that is finalized, agreements like this are nothing but positive.”
Alcoa's release says there are no changes to the overall modernization project schedule at Massena East. The Company will conduct a financial review at the end of 2015 and move forward, subject to board approval.
Click here to view story from last summer when officials said up to 1,000 jobs were to be retained in Massena and click here to view story on announcement of plans to permanently shut down the Massena East potline.