Sign IAM petition to Trump urging his assistance in avoiding smelter’s closure
WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 7, 2020) — Members of Washington’s congressional delegation have urged Alcoa Corp. management to reconsider the planned closure of the Intalco Works aluminum smelting facility in Ferndale, Wash., and to work with the International Association of Machinists (IAM) “to find creative solutions to save these 700 good-paying jobs.”
The effort comes on the heels of a request from IAM leaders for congressional assistance to avoid the closure.
“Allowing this facility to close would do irreparable damage to our nation’s capacity to produce aluminum domestically, severely damage our domestic supply chain, and endanger our national security and sovereignty especially in times of national emergency or foreign conflict,” wrote IAM International President Robert Martinez Jr., and Western Territory General Vice President Gary R. Allen. “Furthermore, this closure would leave nearly 700 hard-working men and women out of work and devastate the local economy and surrounding communities.”
TAKE A STAND — The International Association of Machinists is asking union members and community supporters to sign this petition to President Trump requesting his “assistance in preserving U.S. domestic aluminum production capability and saving 700 aluminum smelting jobs at Alcoa Intalco Works in Ferndale, Washington.”
On Wednesday, Sens. Patty Murray and Maria Cantwell and Reps. Rick Larsen and Suzan DelBene sent this letter to Alcoa CEO Roy Harvey on Wednesday:
Mr. Roy C. Harvey
President and CEO
201 Isabella Street (Suite 500)
Pittsburgh, PA 15212
Dear Mr. Harvey:
We write in support of the 700 workers at Alcoa’s Intalco facility in our home state who will lose their jobs as a result of your decision to shut down the facility. This is the second time in 5 years that Alcoa has announced that it would curtail operations at Intalco, and it is deeply distressing that the company chose to make this announcement in the middle of a pandemic. The Intalco plant is one of the largest employers in Whatcom county and supports many indirect jobs in addition to the 700 workers at the facility itself.
We know that current market conditions are challenging for the aluminum industry and we have consistently worked to address some of these challenges—including in 2016, when we worked with Governor Inslee to support an agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration to improve the competitiveness of Intalco.
We stand ready to explore options to help support the plant, but we ask that you work directly with your workers’ representatives at the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM) to find creative solutions to save these 700 good-paying jobs.
While we recognize that companies like Alcoa have certain corporate responsibilities, they also have a responsibility to their workers and communities. In the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak it is more important than ever to for companies like Alcoa to act as responsible corporate citizens – and we stand ready to work with you achieve this.
We thank you for your attention to this urgent matter, and look forward to working alongside you to save the Intalco plant and its workers’ livelihoods.
Suzan DelBene and Rick Larsen,
Members of Congress
Maria Cantwell and Patty Murray
United States Senators
BACKGROUND — Here are some important facts about the Alcoa Intalco Works smelter and the aluminum industry:
► There are three companies in the United States that operate seven primary aluminum smelters producing less than half of the U.S. domestic demand.
► China has more than 140 smelters producing well over half of the world’s demand for aluminum. Chinese overproduction and unfair subsidies drive down the market price of aluminum to unsustainable levels for U.S. producers forcing them out of the market.
► Alcoa’s announced curtailment of the Intalco smelter will cost 700 manufacturing jobs, directly impacting critical national security infrastructure. The cost to build a new smelter in the U.S. is prohibitive while China is able to add smelting capacity at a fraction of U.S. costs. Intalco is the last operating smelter on the West Coast and the largest by capacity in the U.S.
► Intalco is the only Aluminum smelter in the United States that has access to all modes of transportation; a deep water port, dedicated rail spur, and direct access to Interstate 5 between Canada and Mexico and has access to low carbon intensity hydro power. The plant is in the process of modernizing the potlines, which increases productivity, lowers costs, and reduces emissions and is also increasing its capability for aluminum scrap recycling.
► Increasing Chinese aluminum production increases the global environmental impact through the predominate use of coal fired electricity.