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Alcoa threatens to close US plant

12 June, 2020Around 600 IAM members stand to lose their jobs by the end of July as Alcoa, the owner of the aluminium plant in Ferndale, Washington, US, has announced its closure. 

IndustriALL US affiliate, International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers (IAM), is fighting for its 600 members at the aluminium plant in Ferndale, owned by Alcoa, as closing the plant will heavily impact the workers’ livelihoods.

The plant produces aluminium used in the manufacturing, aerospace and automotive industries, as well as for ventilators, hospital beds and other vital medical equipment, made more important during the current Covid-19 crisis than ever before.

The IAM has raised the issue with President Trump, demanding that the White House use all means necessary to save the strategically important plant.

“In addition to making sure our members receive all assistance possible during this closure, we have not given up on saving these jobs and this critically important industry,”

said IAM international president Robert Martinez Jr.

“Our union has long held that as a nation we must do everything possible to support domestic manufacturing. We cannot rely on importing critical supplies like aluminium, especially during times of conflict or national emergencies."

In a letter of solidarity to the IAM, IndustriALL general secretary Valter Sanches also urges Alcoa to reconsider its misguided decision to close the US plant.

“We fully support and praise IAM’s initiatives, along with different partners, in seeking the cooperation of local, state and federal authorities, and calling on them to adopt the necessary policy changes to find a new buyer for the Alcoa Intalco facility.

“We stand shoulder to shoulder with the sisters and brothers of IAM at the Alcoa Intalco aluminium smelter in Ferndale in their struggle to find a solution to save this strategically important plant, and keep the jobs.”

Alcoa, one of the world’s largest producers of aluminium, recently announced closure of a site in Spain. The company is citing falling aluminium prices because of Chinese overproduction of aluminium and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic.