OLYMPIA (May 9, 2022) — The Manufacturing Labor Roundtable of the Washington State Labor Council, AFL-CIO has joined the chorus of labor, political and community leaders urging the Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to negotiate a fair power deal that allows the reopening of the Intalco aluminum smelter near Ferndale, Wash. Restarting the aluminum smelter, which suspended operations two years ago, will provide 700 mostly union jobs at the plant and thousands more throughout Washington.
The BPA is the federal agency that markets electric power generated from the federally owned hydroelectric projects in the Pacific Northwest. The restoration of a BPA power agreement with Intalco is the final hurdle to reopening the West Coast’s only aluminum smelter.
In an April 29 letter to BPA Administrator John Hairston, union leaders representing Washington state’s largest unions for manufacturing workers urged the agency to “negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement at historic, competitive rates and terms with Blue Wolf Capital to permit the reopening of the Intalco aluminum smelter.”
The letter reads:
As labor leaders representing manufacturing workers in diverse industrial sectors across Washington State, we urge Bonneville Power Administration (BPA) to negotiate a Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) at historic, competitive rates and terms with Blue Wolf Capital to permit the reopening of the Intalco aluminum smelter in Ferndale, Washington.
An alliance of former Intalco management, IAM District 160, IAM District 751, the Washington State Labor Council, and Blue Wolf Capital Partners has been working to reopen and modernize Intalco. Restarting Intalco will ensure America has a domestic source of green aluminum needed for critical industries, such as aerospace, transportation, and defense.
Currently, a PPA with BPA is the last remaining hurdle to restarting Intalco, which will restore over 700 direct, high-paying mostly union jobs that were eliminated when it shut down in 2020.
Reopening Intalco would generate significant economic, environmental, and national security benefits for the region and the entire country. Domestic American aluminum production has plummeted 80% since 1980 and, at great risk to our national interests, the U.S. has become increasingly dependent on coal-based foreign imports from countries such as China, undermining our regional and national climate objectives. BPA’s support in providing a competitively priced PPA at the historic rate to Intalco will prevent the loss of a sustainable domestic supply of green aluminum while restoring much-needed union jobs.
Intalco also stands to replace 100 percent of the Russian aluminum imported to the U.S. Russian primary (unwrought) aluminum imports to the U.S. in 2021 were 215,000 MT/yr. The Intalco production when fully started will be approximately 240,000 MT/yr. BPA has broad discretion in negotiating the terms and conditions related to a PPA. We urge you to use that discretion and provide the reliable, clean electricity at historic, competitive rates and terms, which Intalco needs to reopen.
Thank you for leadership, and we appreciate your time and attention to this matter.
Luke Ackerson, Business Representative
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 160
Brandon Bryant, President and Directing Business Representative
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District W24
Scott Campbell, President
United Steelworkers, Local 12-591
Jon Holden, President and Directing Business Representative
International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers, District 751
Daren Konopaski, International VP and Business Manager
International Union of Operating Engineers, Local 302
Todd Mitchell, Business Manager
Heat & Frost Insulators and Fire Containment Workers, Local 7
Gregory A. Pallesen, President
Association of Western Pulp and Paper Workers
Gaylan Prescott, District Director
United Steelworkers, District 12
Ryan Rule, President
Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, IFPTE Local 2001
John Scearcy, Secretary-Treasurer
International Brotherhood of Teamsters, Local 117
Dan Wilson, President
United Steelworkers, Local 338
The goal of the WSLC’s Manufacturing Labor Roundtable is to strengthen the voice of Washington’s manufacturing workers for the purposes of growing the manufacturing base and promoting high-road job creation throughout the state. It includes labor representatives from the range of manufacturing sectors across the state, including aerospace, energy, food processing, metals and minerals manufacturing, transportation and automotive, woods products and all others.
PREVIOUSLY at The Stand:
BPA power deal is the last hurdle to restarting Intalco (column by WSLC President Larry Brown on March 14)