Hundreds of Washington workers likely to be affected as Alcoa announces it is idling smelters in Wenatchee and near Ferndale

NEW YORK -- Alcoa Inc. announced Monday  it is curtailing its aluminum smelting and refining capacity nationwide due to falling aluminum prices. The reductions will affect its smelters in Wenatchee and at Intalco, near Ferndale.

The reductions will start in the fourth quarter and last one year, the company said in a news release.

"Alcoa has consistently taken decisive actions to create a commodity business that is positioned to succeed throughout the cycle," Chief Executive Klaus Kleinfeld said in a statement.

In its aluminum business, Alcoa will idle the Intalco (near Ferndale) and Wenatchee primary aluminum smelters in Washington State, and the Massena West smelter in New York, the release said.

The casthouses at Intalco and Massena West, which produce value-add shaped products, will continue to operate, it said.

Josh Wilund, communications director for the Intalco facility near Ferndale, told the Bellingham Herald that the facility currently has 583 employees. He told the Herald that the company expects to retain no more than 100 employees.

“Alcoa announced today that is making deep cuts to many of its aluminum smelting operations throughout the country," Gov. Jay Inslee said in a new release Monday. "Today’s news is a tough blow for many hard-working Washingtonians and communities like Ferndale and Wenatchee where Alcoa employs hundreds of men and women. I’ll be asking my agency directors to ensure we’re doing what we can to assist impacted workers and their families during this difficult time.”