- Associated Press - Friday, March 25, 2016

NEWBURGH, Ind. (AP) - Alcoa marked the final day of aluminum manufacturing Thursday at its Warrick County plant along the Ohio River in Indiana.

In January, the company announced that it would permanently close its Warrick Operations smelter, which had been operating since 1960, by the end of March. Company officials noted at the time that the smelter was not competitive because of a drop in prices.

About 600 people worked at the smelter, but the company said earlier this month that only about 325 employees will be laid off, many of whom are members of United Steelworkers Local 104. The other workers either found new jobs or accepted severance or retirement packages, the Evansville Courier and Press (https://bit.ly/1MosNcP ) reported.

On Thursday, smelter workers took a group photo to mark the shutdown. They also received commemorative cast aluminum “coins” as a parting gift.

John Martin, Alcoa’s vice president of smelting for the U.S. and Brazil, stopped by the plant to visit with employees on the last day of production.

“There was never another smelter in this state, and our work has always been unique, something admired for the skill and commitment it required,” Martin wrote in a statement that was sent to employees to thank them for their service.

United Steelworkers Local 104 has applied for Trade Adjustment Assistance on its members’ behalf, but the U.S. Department of Labor has yet to take action on the application. Trade Adjustment Assistance provides benefits to laid-off workers, including job search and training assistance, to help them find new employment.

The union plans to host a resource fair next week for the smelter workers who were affected by the layoffs.

Operations will continue at the plant’s rolling mill and power plant, where about 1,200 people are employed.

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com

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