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Century Aluminum Laying Off 150 Workers

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"Milwaukee Makerspace Aluminum Pour" by Pete Prodoehl, Flickr Commons, (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)
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Century Aluminum has announced a second layoff at its two Kentucky smelters.   

Century Aluminum spokesman Kenny Barkley said the latest cutback is at the company’s Henderson County facility.

“We’ll be idling one potline of three potlines at the Sebree location and that equates to about 150 employees that will be laid off after the first of the year," said Barkley.

The company says the job losses are the result of the declining price of aluminum on the open market — something Century Aluminum officials blame on heavily subsidized Chinese aluminum exports.

“It’s a direct result of the significant and prolonged decline in the aluminum price, which we believe is being driven by unfair trade behavior, Chinese over-capacity and their exportation of heavily-subsidized Chinese aluminum products," said Barkley. "They’ve undercut an otherwise viable plant here at Sebree and at Hawesville.”

Workers on the potlines begin the process of transforming raw materials into aluminum.

The cutback will reduce employment at the Sebree smelter from 525 to 375 workers.

Last month, Century Aluminum announced a major layoff at its Hawesville smelter, which resulted in the loss of 350 jobs.

The plant is in Henderson County, just north of the Webster County line.  

Brad Schneider is CEO of Kyndle, which is the economic development council for Webster, Henderson, Union and McLean counties. He said the layoffs will affect many families.

“It will impact the whole region. Not only is it 150 jobs, but it’s 150 really well-paying jobs," said Schneider. "They make on the average of $60,000 to $65,000 a year in salary and upwards of $90,000 a year in salary plus benefits. Finding jobs like those in other industries is very difficult.”
Schneider said regional business organizations and community colleges will be collaborating on helping laid-off workers find new jobs or opportunities for retraining.
“It will impact the whole region," said Schneider. "Not only is it 150 jobs, but it’s 150 really well-paying jobs. They make on the average of $60,000 to $65,000 a year in salary and upwards of $90,000 a year in salary plus benefits. Finding jobs like those in other industries is very difficult.”  

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