‘Run Alcoa, don’t sell smelter or scrap it’

Dear editor,

It seems there continues to be many view points about the continued future of A lcoa in Rockdale.

This topic of conversation can be participated in at the coffee shops, grocery stores, union hall as well as other local establishments within Rockdale and surrounding towns.

The editorial guest view point by Charles Sebesta in the Feb. 11 Reporter was enlightening, to say the least.

Mr. Sebesta brought forward valid points within his opinion, which was Alcoa will never reopen the smelter.

One of the most valid and troublesome points for myself and other members of the Local Union, was the Alcoa decision to sell the mining operations.

Alcoa, why would you do such a thing if your true intent was to run a profitable, cost-efficient smelter?

One recent event brings even more confusion to the topic of “run it, sell it, or scrap it.”

I understand the union received a notice of intent to contract out both production and craft work in preparation of possible restart of potlines 7 and 8.

Why would Alcoa spend monies on pot lines 7 and 8 within the smelter unless there was some intent?

This brings the topic of contracting out the bargaining unit work being performed on potlines 7 and 8.

Alcoa, why would you contract out this bargaining work, when you are paying laid off Steelworkers Supplemental Unemployment Benefits (SUB)?

Would this not be like a double payment to perform the work needed inside the smelter, especially when you have qualified maintenance and production employees at home, who are more than capable of performing the needed work in an efficient, costeffective manner?

As politicians on both sides of the aisle point fingers at each other on why the unemployment rate is so high within the United States, maybe it is time to look at the reason.

In Sebesta’s guest viewpoint, it was noted that Alcoa had entered into a joint venture with Ma’aden, a Saudi Arabian mining company to develop an integrated aluminum industrial complex.

This means jobs in Saudi Arabia, not Central Texas.

The reluctance to reinvest in the manufacturing base in the United States has brought forth this high rate of unemployment in which we may see no real decline unless someone decides it is time to reinvest in America.

Within the concept of “run, sell or scrap it,” I would hope for all unemployed Steelworkers and the support staff around them, that Alcoa chooses to reinvest in the Rockdale Operations Smelter and run it.

David Edmonds Member of USW Local 4895 1003 North Davis Ave. Cameron TX 76520

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2010-02-18 digital edition

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