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Alcoa, NYPA agreement drops job number to 750 for cheap power; apprenticeship program launched

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MASSENA - Alcoa and the New York Power Authority (NYPA) have reached agreement to preserve the competitiveness of Alcoa’s Massena West smelter in New York while committing to an ambitious plan to train Alcoa employees for high demand technical jobs.

Under the new terms of the agreement, NYPA will ensure continued power to Massena West and Alcoa will minimize the impact of the Massena East potline closure on its workforce.

All 332 employees affected by the closure are expected to take advantage of voluntary incentive programs, job transfers and/or training programs. The company will maintain operations at Massena West, including 750 jobs.

In the new agreement, NYPA will temporarily reduce Alcoa’s hydropower supply contract of 478 megawatts, while supplying enough energy to support the operations of Massena West. NYPA will also waive two utility charges on Alcoa’s monthly power bills, further supporting the plant’s viability.

Alcoa has pledged to launch Massena’s largest-ever apprenticeship program to prepare the workforce of the future. The three and four-year New York State-certified programs will provide training and resources for employees to become electricians, mechanics and machinists. Alcoa expects to have more than 50 employees participate in the program.

“We are committed to Massena and have a vested interest in the success of this community, so the apprenticeship program is designed to have a meaningful impact on both its economy and its labor force,” said John Martin, president of Alcoa Global Primary Products – United States and a former plant manager in Massena. “We would like to thank the New York Power Authority, our unions, state, local and other stakeholders for their hard work and cooperation throughout this process. We appreciate their collective support in ensuring that Massena West remains competitive well into the future.”

There are no changes to the overall Modernization Project schedule at Massena East, Alcoa officials said. As Alcoa’s contract stipulates, the company will conduct a financial review at the end of 2015, and move forward subject to board approval.

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