Alcoa has filed a state notice for its Ferndale and Wenatchee aluminum smelters, starting the clock on when layoffs could begin.
The Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification indicates that the company could lay off 465 employees at Ferndale and 415 in Wenatchee. The WARN filing means the company is giving 60 days notice before it can start doing layoffs. The notification requirement was set up to give state agencies a chance to offer assistance to those losing their jobs.
The layoffs are part of Alcoa’s plan to reduce the supply of aluminum, which has flooded the global market and dropped the price to six-year lows. Alcoa views this as a curtailment of its smelter operations in Washington. Alcoa has not indicated how long the smelter idling would last, saying it will evaluate market conditions to determine if and when a restart is possible.
For the Ferndale smelter, those layoffs could start as early as Jan. 18. This does not mean that all 465 employees would lose their jobs on that day. In its announcement on Monday, Nov. 2 that it was idling the Ferndale facility, Alcoa communications director Josh Wilund said it will take some time to wind down the smelter operations, with it being completed by the end of March.
Wilund said Alcoa is committed to supporting the employees through this transition and is continuing to outline the benefits and services being made available to those laid off.
In the Nov. 2 announcement, Wilund said the facility had 583 employees. That would suggest 118 employees would be retained for the casthouse operation at Intalco, satisfying customer demand for billet and standard foundry ingot.