Alcoa East employees to learn job options today

Alcoa's Massena East smelter plant. NCPR file photo

Alcoa’s Massena East smelter plant. NCPR file photo

Employees at Alcoa’s Massena East plant will find out today what’s going to happen to their jobs when the plant shuts down, the Watertown Daily Times reports today. Their union, Steelworkers Local 450-A, is meeting with workers at 3:30 and 6:30 today; they made an agreement on Wednesday with Alcoa, but details haven’t been revealed yet pending notification of union members. At the meeting, the union will talk with members about what their options are. The company filed notice with the state in mid-January that it would lay off 332 employees as a result of the plant closure.

Alcoa announced earlier this month it would close the two remaining potlines at the Massena East plant; the state has said it will hold the company to its deal to keep at least 900 jobs in the state for decades to come in exchange for cheap electricity from the St. Lawrence River.

In a press release quoted in David Sommerstein’s recent story on the closing, Gov. Cuomo’s spokeswoman Maria DeRosa said “involuntary layoffs” would be considered a breach of contract; WWNY-TV reported officials saying they’ll be looking for those layoffs to be voluntary, and are offering early retirement packages to union workers at its two Massena plants.

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