CONSTELLIUM, which owns the aluminum rolling mill at Ravenswood, says it has lost money in 11 of the last 13 years. Its contract with Steelworkers Local 5668 has expired.
About 570 members of the local have applied for
Century Aluminum idled the adjacent aluminum smelter in February 2009, throwing more than 650 members of the same local out of work. Century later ended health care benefits for retirees.
Constellium says it needs Steelworkers, who have first-dollar health coverage, to accept slightly less
advantageous health care benefits in exchange for some monetary benefits over the life of the contract.
The Legislature has approved, and the governor has signed, legislation to give Century $20 million in state tax credits for each of the next 10 years if it restarts.
But Century says a restart also hinges on state Public Service Commission approval of a preferential electricity rate that could shift some of its power costs to residential and other industrial power users.
Opponents have said that could result in other
consumers shouldering as much as $196 million of Century's power costs over the next 10 years.
A restart at Century would put as many as 487 members of the local back to work.
Make no mistake. Both plants are important, and not only to Steelworkers and Jackson County.
Century accounted for 10 percent of Appalachian Power Co.'s rate base in West Virginia. Its shutdown has already caused $17.3 million a year in costs to be shifted to other Apco customers.