The best economic news in a long time for Massena arrived Friday morning. Alcoa made it official - the East plant is reopening.
The restart will happen during the next six months.
"It's great news, a great feeling to be here to see this," said lieutenant governor Robert Duffy.
"We want to make sure this plant only gets bigger in the future."
"New York state is now open for business," Duffy said. "In the past, too many of our wounds have been self-inflicted."
(Listen to Duffy's comments here.)
In a statement Friday morning, Alcoa said Massena East is one of three smelters it is restarting nationwide.
Electricity from the state Power Authority will cost about 40 percent less than worldwide averages, according to the company.
Alcoa said the restart will provide "about 120 new jobs through recall or hiring." A total of 385 jobs are 'secured' by the restart. (Editor's note - an earlier version of this story incorrectly stated 'another' 385 jobs.)
The company said long term agreements for low cost power "will continue to move Alcoa down on the aluminum cost curve."
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(Officials gathered at Massena Alcoa plant Thursday as the announcement of the restart was made. Photo from the office of Assemblywoman Addie J. Russell.)
Thursday, Jim Ridgeway, a United Steelworkers representative, said Alcoa laid off 113 employees when it closed the former Reynolds facility in July 2009 due to a historic drop in aluminum prices. He said the new investment would be significant and not temporary, but did not offer a financial impact estimate.
"Everyone attached to Aloca-Massena is elated by this news," Ridgeway told 7 News. "We've been seeing what we think is certainly some signs of recovery. This is something that the steelworkers have been working for with the company and hoping for at least the last 10 or 12 years.
"The aluminum market is like any other market; it fluctuates some. Right now, things are strong. But this is not a knee-jerk reaction to business picking up a little bit when you're talking about the potential size of investment the company will be making."
Ridgeway credited Rep. Bill Owens, D-Plattsburgh, local politicians, the Power Authority and union officials for working in cooperation to make this restart a reality. He did not know when the plant would open, but said he felt confident an agreement could be reached within the next couple of months.
"We're certainly not going to do anything to impede these jobs coming to Massena," he said. "We're ready to roll up our shirtsleeves and go to work tomorrow if necessary."
"If what we're hearing is in fact accurate, this is tremendous news for St. Lawrence County and it's tremendous news for all of the north country," said Owens.
Sunday, February 7, 2016, Watertown, NY
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