Major Layoff at Rockdale Alcoa Plant

By: Meredith Stancik Email
By: Meredith Stancik Email

Their jobs have been on the line for months, but hundreds of Alcoa employees had hoped their jobs wouldn't be on the chopping block.

However, more than 600 workers at the Rockdale Aluminum Smelter received the dreadful news Tuesday that they'll be without a job right before the holidays.

"It's going to be some tough times for everyone in the community," Alcoa employee Michael Malone said.

For months, the town of about 5,500 has been bracing for the worst, but news of a major layoff at Alcoa, hit the community hard.

"It's been a good way of life for a lot of folks for a lot of years," Malone said.

Malone has been working at Alcoa for 35 years. The Bryan resident and maintenance mechanic met his late wife and made life-long friends while on the job.

"Yes, I'm sad, but I'm just not thinking about me," Malone said. "I'm thinking about the young folks that are employed there. I'd like to see them work there as long as I've worked there."

Alcoa, a global manufacturer of aluminum, is laying off 660 employees from its production facility, blaming the local power supply and overall market conditions.

"The market price of aluminum has declined a lot and so all aluminum producers are looking at their capacity and which capacity they should continue to run or if they might want to shut down," Jim Hodson with Alcoa said.

The latest layoffs are in addition to about 160 employees who have already been let go. That leaves 820 people without a job.
To put into perspective, that's equivalent to every resident of Iola and Bedias being out of work.

"It hurts a lot of people," Malone said.

The majority of the layoffs will happen toward the end of November and in early December, and only 140 people will continue to work at the plant.

Malone says he'll retire, but hopes the profitable days quickly return.

"Hopefully this economy will pick up and aluminum prices will go up and we can open up some production," Malone said. "We need to get some young people back to work."

The Rockdale Workforce Center is helping those affected by the Alcoa layoffs.

The center has been hosting job fairs and workshops since the first round of employees were let go two months ago. More events are scheduled for the near future.

For more information call the Rockdale Workforce Center at 512-446-6440.

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