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Regional aluminum industry sees another curtailment, Constellium recruiting

By C. Josh Givens

Alcoa announced July 1 it has curtailed operation of one potline at its Warrick Operations smelting facility in Newburgh. The company did not specify if any jobs would be lost, though some media reports have stated there will be no associated layoffs.

The Alcoa announcement comes just two weeks after the June announcement by Century Aluminum it will curtail operations at its Hawesville Smelter for 9-to-12 months after the layoffs of 628 employees are completed by the end of August.

Alcoa attributed the curtailment of the potline to “operational challenges,” while John Slaven, Executive Vice President and Chief Operations Officer said “Our teams will be focused on ensuring that we bring down this capacity safely while protecting production at the two other operating lines.”

A marketing department statement said the company was having difficulty in recruiting and retaining enough working to keep the potline running. A statement from the company on the Alcoa Warrick Operation Facebook page said “Our focus now will be pulling together with all of our employees to bring stability to our operations.”

The company has been proactive in reaching out to affected Century employees in Hawesville following the announcement of curtailment there. Alcoa Warrick held open interviews on June 29 at Bates House in Newburgh.

The company has scheduled open interviews at Hancock County Career Center from 8 until 11 a.m., on July 14, and at the Kentucky Career Center in Owensboro from 1 until 3 p.m. The Career Center said those interviews are still scheduled to take place.

There are about 660 employees at the Warrick site, which includes the smelter and an associated power generating station. Alcoa completed a sale of its rolling mill near Evansville in March 2021 to Kaiser Aluminum Corporation for $670 million.

The Warrick facility has a total of five potlines, though only three were running at the time of the announcement. The nameplate production capacity of the facility is 269,000 metric tons per year (mtpy), though the plant was only producing 161,000 mtpy.

Alcoa is headquartered in Pittsburgh, with facilities spread across North and South America, Europe and Australia. It also has joint ventures in Saudi Arabia and Guinea.

Constellium recruiting in hiring event

Constellium, a France-based aluminum supplier, has placed an ad in this week’s Clarion to recruit for open positions at its facilities in Bowling Green; Muscle Shoals, Ala.; and Ravenswood, W.V. The company employs more than 12,000 worldwide over 27 manufacturing sites, producing value-added products for the automotive, aerospace, and packaging industries.

“We supply a wide variety of markets with our products,” said Sarah E. Wilkins, a communications specialist based in Muscle Shoals. “We are promoting this hiring event in your area based on the experience in the industry throughout the community. The positions available at these facilities are across a wide variety of needs.”

The company is recruiting machine operators, millwrights, casting and rolling technicians, maintenance technicians, engineers, shift supervisors, production planners, supply chain analysts, trainers in casting and rolling, and information technology specialists.

The Bowling Green facility employs about 145 workers, producing flat-rolled body sheet automotive components, highlighted by its contributions to the Ford F-150 Lightning, Ford’s first full-size, all-electric pickup. The facility also supplies components for Ford’s Bronco, Escape, Expedition and Ranger models, along with the Lincoln Corsair and Navigator. The facility opened in 2016.

The Muscle Shoals operation employs 1,200 people across 5.5 million square meters. The plant’s main product is recycled can sheet for the beverage industry. The facility has a capacity to recycle nearly 20 billion cans annually. Casting operations at the facility are completed through electromagnetic casting. The plant also supplies auto body sheet substrate to the Bowling Green operation.

The Ravenswood facility employs 1,100 workers at its facility on the banks of the Ohio River. The plant produces cast plate for the aerospace, defense, transportation, and industrial markets. The casting department can produce high-purity products from 40 to 100 tons, either as coil or plate products.

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