Alcoa Howmet cuts 18 jobs


Alcoa Howmet laid off 18 workers at its Hampton manufacturing plant on Monday as demand for industrial gas turbines remains soft, the company confirmed Wednesday.

Most of the dismissed workers were salaried employees, said Cary Dell, an Ohio-based spokesman for Alcoa Power Propulsion, the Alcoa Inc. division that operates the Hampton plant.

"We're still facing global economic headwinds in the business and our business is global in nature," Dell said.

Alcoa Howmet, one of Hampton's largest private employers, has about 720 workers. Its manufacturing center produces components for industrial gas turbines, which are used by utilities and large industrial complexes to generate power. The Hampton plant produces the blades inside the turbines.

The company pays well over half of all the machinery and tools tax Hampton collects, according to 2010 city figures.

This week's layoff was spurred by volatility in demand for gas turbine replacement parts, Dell said.

Nonetheless, he said, Alcoa remains confident in the Hampton business in the future.

"Our business strategy is on the right path to capture business when the market fully recovers," Dell said.

Alcoa completed a $25 million expansion of the plant in the fall of 2009, but since then, it has cut more than 300 jobs.

The company was promised certain incentives from Hampton and the state to help offset the cost of the capital investment, but it did not meet performance benchmarks set forth in those pacts, including one that required it to create 25 new jobs by September 2011.

Source: Daily Press