The International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAMAW) is urging Alcoa’s CEO to halt the planned demolition of the Intalco aluminum smelter in Ferndale, Wash., the last such remaining facility west of the Mississippi River.
Nearly three years ago, 700 union members at IAM Local 2379 (District 160) were laid off at the Ferndale Alcoa Intalco Works aluminum smelter production plant as the plant entered curtailment. From the moment the facility was shuttered, the IAM has been working with all willing partners and stakeholders to reopen the smelter and restore these high-quality union jobs. The project, if not demolished, could restore aluminum manufacturing jobs in Washington state, reduce emissions of greenhouse gasses and increase energy efficiency if reopened.
The United States now produces only 1 percent of the world’s aluminum, according to a recent Congressional Research Service report. China ranks first with approximately 57 percent of global aluminum production. Russia ranks third.
Click here for the full letter from IAMAW International President Robert Martinez Jr. to Alcoa CEO Roy Harvey.
“Since the curtailment of the Intalco smelter more than two years ago, the IAMAW has worked to assemble a coalition of supporters who understand the importance of preserving a domestic aluminum industry in the United States and the critical role the Intalco Works smelter in Ferndale, Washington plays,” said Martinez. “Thanks in large part to the IAMAW’s advocacy and coalition building, Congress included critical support for domestic aluminum producers in the recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA). These aluminum industry-focused provisions in the IRA have created a path forward for this facility to reopen and once again start producing strategically important domestic aluminum and put more than 700 IAMAW members back to work in Ferndale.
“With the passage of the IRA, the IAMAW assembled a management, investment, and advocacy team that came very close to achieving our goal of restarting the smelter under new ownership/management,” said Martinez. “Unfortunately, with electricity prices recently spiking in the Northwest the lead investor involved in the restart of Intalco Works concluded they could not proceed with the project. Undeterred, the IAMAW and other supporters of the project went to work to find a new lead investor. That work is currently ongoing, and real progress is being made, but the IAMAW needs more time for new investor to perform their due diligence. On behalf of the IAMAW, the workforce at Intalco Works, the Ferndale community, and the nation at large; we urge you to pause the proposed demolition of the Intalco Works.”