Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin, and workers at Century Aluminum, are rallying support for protections for aluminum producers in the Tri-State and nationwide.
It comes as the trump administration is expected to release results of their investigation into effects of imported aluminum on the industry.
Inside Century Aluminum during a meeting with Gov. Bevin, workers voiced their current concerns, in a industry concerned about its future.
“If this plant, God forbid, were to shut, our military would need to go to the Persian Gulf or to Russia to get the special aluminum they need,” says Century Aluminum CEO Mike Bless. He also says the results of the Section 232 investigation, conducted by the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, into effects on national security of aluminum imports will have a significant impact on the Hawesville plant, and others nationwide. Government officials say low prices and unfairly traded imports are hindering long term industry investment.
“We expect, and hope, and ask the President of the United States to recognize the fact that the Century Aluminums of the world are critical to our nation’s infrastructure, in the defense frankly needs of the values the world needs in spades,” says Gov. Bevin.
This comes at a tough time for the aluminum industry. Officials say the industry has lost more than 4,000 jobs the past several years. The Hawesville plant is also one of five still operating in the U.S. Bless says if protections are put in place, it could result in more jobs brought back and some potlines restarted. Workers hope the results are in their favor.
“He seems to understand that the middle class is where the powerhouse is. It’s what fuels our economy. I hope he leans towards that,” says Chris Goddard, who works at Century Aluminum.
(This story was originally published January 18, 2018)