By Temple Li

An aluminum manufacturer in Massena had planned to eliminate nearly 500 jobs, per a November 2 announcement. This changed yesterday, through an agreement announced by the manufacturer, Alcoa. Pursuant to the deal, which was entered into between Alcoa and the New York Power Authority, Alcoa will be required to employ at least 600 full-time equivalent employees (individuals working at least 35 hours a week) throughout its Massena West plant. The company will offer a voluntary retirement package to eligible employees.

Klaus Kleinfeld, the company’s chairman and chief executive officer said, “Today’s agreement helps better position the smelter in light of prevailing market conditions, providing this facility a bridge to a stronger commodity market and maintaining jobs in the North Country. We remain focused on ensuring our upstream business is well-positioned to succeed throughout the cycle.”

The agreement modifies the current contract between Alcoa and the New York Power Authority. The deal, which is retroactive to Oct. 1 and runs through March 31, 2019, provides various state incentives to Alcoa, and includes significant financial penalties if the company defaults or terminates the deal early.

Kleinfeld commended U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo for their efforts in the deal being executed, saying, “Senator Schumer and Governor Cuomo have been tremendous allies for Alcoa’s Massena operations for many years and we thank them for their continued support.”

“This Thanksgiving, as we are surrounded by family and friends, we can be a little more thankful that roughly 600 Upstate New Yorkers will not be out of a job,” said Senator Schumer. “The agreement that Governor Cuomo and I forged with Alcoa is a major victory for the North County and more importantly the hard working, extremely productive workers at the Alcoa factory in Massena.”

Governor Cuomo said, “This agreement strengthens an essential part of the North Country economy and saves hundreds of jobs in the region. It gives Alcoa the opportunity to recommit to its future in Massena, just as hundreds of its employees have already done for much of their working lives with the company—and bolster the viability of these facilities over the long-term.”

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