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Alcoa, state officials reach agreement to keep Massena smelting plant open

Gov. Andrew Cuomo (left) and Sen. Charles Schumer went to Massena to announce the deal with Alcoa Tuesday.

During an appearance in Massena Tuesday, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced that the Alcoa's smelting plant would stay open for at least the next 3 1/2 years. Alcoa had previously announced that it would end its smelting operation at the end of this year, resulting in a loss of more than 500 jobs.

Credit Alcoa
An aerial view of Alcoa's operation in Massena, N.Y.

Under the agreement, Alcoa will receive nearly $70 million in assistance from New York State. The New York Power Authority will provide the company with $30 million in electricity subsidies. The Empire State Development Corporation will invest another $30 million in the plant. 

In exchange, Alcoa will keep the plant open for at least another 3 1/2 years, and keep at least 600 people employed at the facility for the duration of the agreement. If Alcoa breaks the agreement, it would face a $40 million fine. 

"This agreement strengthens an essential part of the North Country economy and saves hundreds of jobs in the region," said Cuomo. "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."

Sen. Chuck Schumer was also instrumental in the talks with Alcoa, and was on hand for Tuesday's announcment. 

“The agreement that Gov. 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," said Schumer. "The entire community can finally breathe a big sigh of relief and I will continue to engage with the company – and will partner with local leaders, my federal partners, and the Governor to make sure this facility is productive and thriving for years to come.”?

Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-Willsboro), in a statement, praised Alcoa's decision. 

This is welcome news for our North Country community and will keep about 600 good paying jobs in our area. I have been in contact with Alcoa officials throughout the year and visited the plant this past May. I saw firsthand how important this company has been as an employer to generations of North Country families. Today’s news is the culmination of advocacy from the Alcoa workforce as well as local, state and federal officials. While this is a welcome announcement, I remain committed to working in Congress to help grow the North Country economy so that we can create good paying jobs for North Country families.