Over the years, New York has invested millions in Alcoa's Massena operations. Now, Gov. Andrew Cuomo believes the company should show the same level of commitment by keeping its northern New York plant open.
In a letter sent Monday to Alcoa chairman and CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, Cuomo said the company's decision to idle the Massena West smelter and close the Massena East facility was "shocking."
Alcoa made the announcement on Nov. 2. By idling one smelter and closing the other, the company is slashing nearly 500 jobs at its Massena operations.
Cuomo, along with U.S. Sen. Chuck Schumer, is working to save the jobs in Massena.
"While we recognize that Alcoa's ability to compete in global marketplace has been challenging, the state has responded accordingly through generous energy subsidies and other benefits allowing the company to save tens of millions of dollars annually," Cuomo wrote.
"What is particularly troubling is the fact that this latest closure announcement comes on the heels of a recently negotiated deal — the third such deal in five years."
Two years ago, the Alcoa reached an agreement with the state to retain 750 jobs at the plant in exchange for low-cost power. In 2008, the company received low-cost power in return for a promise to keep 900 jobs in Massena.
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When Alcoa's executives announced the plan to shut down Massena East and idle Massena West, they said the moves would help improve the company's cost profile.
"These difficult, but necessary measures will further strengthen our Upstream portfolio, reducing our cost position and driving greater resilience as we prepare to launch this business as a strong standalone company in the second half of 2016," Kleinfeld said in a statement.
Cuomo, though, doesn't share the same view. But he is hopeful that the state will reach a deal with Alcoa to retain jobs at the plant.
"That agreement must, however, recognize the millions of dollars of incentives New York state has already provided the company," he said. "Now, Alcoa has to do its part."