Alcoa Intalco Works Ferndale avoids planned layoffs of nearly 500 employees

Published May 3, 2016

On May 2, Alcoa announced its agreement with the Bonneville Power Administration to amend its current power contract to help improve the competitiveness of the Intalco Works Ferndale smelter.

The new amendment to the power contract, effective July 1, 2016 through Feb. 14, 2018, will provide for additional market access during this period. As a result of this and other positive developments, the company will avoid layoffs at the end of the second quarter 2016 as previously announced.

“This development is very good news for all of Whatcom County,” said Tony Larson, president of the Whatcom Business Alliance. “We were very happy to have been involved in the successful advocacy for HB 1381, which continued some much needed tax preferences for the Ferndale plant,” he added.

The amendment with BPA, combined with the state of Washington’s $3 million budget for on-site workforce training and the success of HB 1381 are significant factors in helping Intalco remain competitive despite challenging market conditions.

According to a study commissioned by the WBA in 2014, the labor multiplier for the Ferndale plant is 3.26. That means the direct impact on 500 jobs lost at the plant would have been 1630 jobs overall. These are jobs that pay more than two times the average Whatcom County wage of $41,334, according to the study.

“The jobs lost at Alcoa would have had a significant and direct negative impact on other businesses, our local economy, philanthropy and our tax base. This is another reminder that business success drives community prosperity and that we should all do what we can to support local businesses,” Larson said.

Read the 2014 Cherry Point Impact Study here