MASSENA, NY — U.S. Senator Chuck Schumer today released the following statement after Alcoa reached an agreement with the New York Power Authority to continue receiving low-cost hydroelectric power for their aluminum smelting operation in Massena, NY:
“The Alcoa aluminum smelting facility in Massena is the very heart and soul of the North Country, providing hundreds of good-paying union jobs to the hardworking people of St. Lawrence County. On the heels of my push this month, I’m proud to announce that a brand-new, 7-year deal has been reached between the NYPA and Alcoa today which will further cement their fruitful relationship and keep hundreds of Upstate New Yorkers on the job,” said Senator Schumer. “The entire Massena community can breathe a big sigh of relief and look to the future, but nonetheless, as I have under the three previous governors and past CEO’s, I’ll continue engaging with Alcoa – and will partner with local leaders, my federal partners, and New York state, to make sure this facility is productive and thriving for years to come.”
Schumer noted that the aluminum industry in New York directly employs 4,600 employees and indirectly helps employ another 16,200 employees with a total economic impact of $6.6 billion. Alcoa alone employs over 450 workers in Massena, New York. Schumer explained that Alcoa is central to the North Country’s economy and that its local workforce is second to none.
Previously, Schumer has worked closely with multiple New York administrations to forge deals with Alcoa. In November 2015, Alcoa suddenly announced plans to curtail their aluminum smelting facility and lay off 480 people associated with that work in Massena. Recognizing the damage such a move would inflict on the North Country economy, Schumer worked closely with New York state and Governor Cuomo to negotiate a deal which included $30 million in low-cost electricity from NYPA along with operational and capital support from the state. In exchange, Alcoa would maintain at least 600 jobs in Massena for at least three and a half years.
Similarly, over a decade ago in 2007, Schumer spoke with the former CEO of Alcoa, Alain Belda, to begin facilitating an agreement with New York State to receive low-cost hydropower to increase smelting production at its Massena facility. Following this meeting, Schumer spoke with then-Governor Eliot Spitzer, and arranged a meeting between him and Belda to kick start negotiations. Talks between New York State and Alcoa continued, at Schumer’s urging, and eventually, during Governor Paterson’s administration in 2009, a hydropower deal was signed by the two parties, resulting in Alcoa’s major investment in Massena. In 2013, Schumer also worked to facilitate a final settlement between the EPA and Alcoa to clean-up the Grasse River in a way that satisfied public health and environmental concerns and provide cost certainty to the company.