State, Alcoa reach agreement

MASSENA — Alcoa and the state of New York have reached an agreement to keep 750 employees on the job at the company’s Massena location.

The agreement calls for Alcoa to maintain that many jobs at its Massena West facility in the wake of the recent closure of the last two potlines at the Massena East facility, where 332 people were employed.

The company has also agreed to fund a workforce-development training program for employees to gain skills needed for the highly technical jobs that will be needed in Alcoa’s future operations.

The agreement amends the employment figures required to make Alcoa eligible for continuation of a hydropower-supply contract with the New York Power Authority for 478 megawatts of power from the authority’s St. Lawrence-Franklin D. Roosevelt Hydroelectric Power Plant.

The contract originally called for Alcoa to maintain at least 900 jobs at the two Massena plants.

“The news in January of Alcoa’s plans to deal with the global changes in the aluminum markets led to immediate discussions with Alcoa to avoid layoffs and keep Alcoa’s plans to modernize the East Plant on track,” Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a press release this week.

“This agreement achieves those objectives and applies firm job commitments that Alcoa must adhere to for its continued use of some of the lowest-cost electricity in the country.”

North Country Regional Economic Development Council Co-chair Tony Collins, president of Clarkson University, said Alcoa is a huge part of the local economy and that protecting jobs is critical for a variety of business interests in the North Country.

“I am pleased to see that NYPA’s low-cost power to Alcoa will continue to protect jobs as the company continues its efforts to construct and operate a new modern facility in Massena,” he said.