PITTSBURGH, Oct. 8, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The United Steelworkers (USW) today called upon Ohio Gov. John Kasich to urge the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) to assist in continued discussions with American Electric Power (AEP) and Ormet and negotiate a resolution that will enable the smelter in Hannibal, Ohio to resume full operations.
"We encourage Governor Kasich and his administration to insist that Ormet, PUCO and AEP return to the table to resolve the issues, save our jobs and protect these communities," said USW District 1 Director Dave McCall.
McCall pointed out that the USW and secured creditors have worked with management to reduce the company's financial liabilities by almost $300 million and disputed the idea that saving thousands of family-supporting jobs at Ormet would increase costs for AEP's other ratepayers, as has been reported.
"Ormet's major request is not for subsidies but rather to be free to purchase electricity from the grid at market price," McCall said. "Governor Kasich has been an outspoken proponent of a market-based approach, but AEP's intransigent and short-sighted behavior has made sustainable operations at Ormet impossible."
"AEP is a public utility which is accountable to the people of Ohio," McCall said, "but unless or until PUCO and AEP figure out a solution to the high cost of energy needed for production, the future of our jobs and communities will remain uncertain."
Massive layoffs are expected to begin this week after the PUCO last week denied a majority of Ormet's request for an energy transition plan that would have allowed the company to continue production and build an on-site natural gas power plant to reduce the company's future electricity costs.
The USW represents 850,000 men and women employed in metals, mining, pulp and paper, rubber, chemicals, glass, auto supply and the energy-producing industries, along with a growing number of workers in public sector and service occupations.
More information, contact: Tony Montana (412) 562-2592 or firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE United Steelworkers (USW)