HANNIBAL - Company and union officials remained quiet Monday regarding plans for Ormet Corp. to start laying off workers at the Hannibal Primary Aluminum Reduction Plant today.
Faced with escalating electric bills that may increase by about $20 million per year, Ormet in July filed a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act notice that states the company's first layoffs could come today. The notice states the company could cut its Hannibal-based work force by about 1,000 employees by the end of this year.
Neither Ormet Chief Executive Office Mike Tanchuk nor United Steelworkers Local 5724 President Tom Byers could be reached for comment regarding the status of the plant and its employees Monday. In August, officials announced plans to reduce operations at the Hannibal plant from six potlines to four, but Byers said at the time that no one had been laid off at that point.
Last week, the company issued an additional W.A.R.N. notice for 250 employees at the Ormet Burnside, La., aluminum refinery.
These reductions come primarily because of the shutdown of two of the six potlines at Hannibal. Tanchuk continues to blame escalating American Electric Power costs - as well as an August ruling by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio - for the planned reductions at both Hannibal and Burnside.
Lower worldwide aluminum prices also are part of the problem, he said.
AEP officials have acknowledged the rate increase will occur, but they have declined to confirm its amount.