Panel hears Alcoa plant ready when, if markets improve

The C ommu n it y Adv isor y Panel to Alcoa (Rockdale Operations)— CAPARO—is meeting 4-5 times a year for updates on the status of work at the Rockdale smelter from Location Manager Royce Haws.

At its May meeting, CAPARO also heard Cindy Jerman of Workforce Solutions of Central Texas describe training programs available to laid off Alcoa employees.

Haws described the facility's efforts to remain revenue neutral until inventory decreases, the market for aluminum improves, and the price of metal rises. It continues to cost more to make aluminum than it can be sold for.

Smelter potlines are ready to be restarted when the situation improves.

The atomizer continues to operate, but with fewer crews and work hours.

The plant is shipping carbon to the Alcoa Warwick, Indiana plant. Alcoa is selling surplus equipment and looking at water, hay, and railroad track as ways to maximize revenues. CAPARO has provided input in past meetings on options for use of water under the former Sandow Mine.

The monthly safety and environmental report showed no recordable injuries and no non-compliances year to date. Though the workforce is small, the remaining workers do many tasks, so Haws said the risk of accident remains.

Workforce at 87

The workforce has been reduced about 80 percent. It now consists of 41 hourly and 46 salaried employees. Alcoa union and management successfully petitioned to obtain assistance from the federal Trade Adjustment Assistance and Trade Readjustment Assistance programs.

Workers may receive support for 104 weeks of approved training, covering tuition and books. Their unemployment benefits are extended, and some are eligible for relocation expense and tax credits for health insurance premiums as they train for and seek new jobs.

Visitors are welcome to hear the next update on Monday, October 12 from 6- 8:30 p.m. at a location to be determined. To obtain details, contact facilitator Diane Sheridan at 1-800-484-9212 ext. 4127 or

Rockdale residents are also welcome to contact CAP member John Hughes at 512-947-3191.

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2009-06-11 digital edition

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