This month is the one-year anniversary of Alcoa closing the largest aluminum smelter in the United States – the Warrick in Indiana.
More than 325 workers lost their family-supporting jobs, including Brandon Marshall, who, like most aluminum workers, was a member of my union, the United Steelworkers (USW). Brandon told the New York Times last week that he found another job, but it pays only about half what he earned before, so his wife had to go back to work.
Alcoa also shut down its Wenatchee smelter last year, laying off 420 workers in Washington State, including Josh Busjahn, who told a reporter from public radio’s Marketplace that he had to cut his family’s budget in half.
In 1970, there were 24,000 aluminum smelter workers nationwide. Now, there are 2,200. Just 17 years ago, the United States had 23 smelters. Now, there are five. And only one is operating at full capacity.Continue Reading...