Intalco may remain open with government grant

Employees at the Alcoa Intalco aluminum plant in Ferndale may have some hope.

On March 29, union workers were informed that more than $3 million had been set aside in the final Washington state budget for workforce training at the plant. The influx of funds could keep the plant open for several more months.

The funding would help pay for facility maintenance, employee training programs and several key upgrades.

Last November, Alcoa announced they would be idling the smelter, citing low global prices for aluminum. The move would potentially put 465 employees out of work. The company was planning on idling operations in June, leaving only the aluminum cast house, which employs around 100 people, in operation.

The plant’s employees will now have to wait for the budget to pass the legislature and receive Governor Jay Inslee’s signature. The budget is expected to be approved within the next two weeks.

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