Human Resources, Lakeshore, and Manufacturing

Alcoa Howmet cuts 42 jobs in Whitehall

January 17, 2013
| By Pete Daly |
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Alcoa Howmet cuts 42 jobs in Whitehall
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Forty-two jobs were eliminated at Alcoa Howmet in Whitehall this month, according to Monica Orbe, director of Alcoa Corporate Affairs in New York.

In a brief email statement to the Business Journal, she said it was “due to conditions related to this business. We are working to support affected employees through this difficult decision.”

A local news report stated that the jobs eliminated were non-union and not in production. Many of the employees there are members of the United Auto Workers.

Alcoa Howmet reportedly has about 2,060 employees, but the plant HR director told the Business Journal in 2008 it employed “about 2,700.”

Alcoa has owned the plant in Whitehall since 2000.

An economic development professional in Muskegon County said he is sure the plant — the county’s largest manufacturing employer — is “not in trouble.”

Ed Garner, president of Muskegon Area First, an economic development agency, said he understands the company — “Howmet,” to the locals — is undergoing some “management restructuring.”

The plant mainly produces castings and parts for the aerospace industry, particularly turbine blades for jet engines, and also parts for industrial gas turbine engines.

With headquarters in New York, Alcoa is a global aluminum and titanium metal manufacturing company with more than 60,000 employees around the world.

Alcoa reported last week that it ended 2012 in a “strong liquidity position” with sales of $23.7 billion for the year, down 5 percent from 2011. Its income from continuing operations was $191 million, or 18 cents per share, compared to $614 million or 55 cents per share in 2011.

“We overcame volatile metal prices and global economic instability to deliver on our targets for the fourth year in a row,” said Alcoa chairman/CEO Klaus Kleinfeld, adding, “We enter 2013 in a strong position to maximize profitable growth.”

The company predicts global growth in aerospace products will be from 9 to 10 percent in 2013; 1 to 4 percent in automotive; 2 to 7 percent in commercial transportation; 2 to 3 percent in packaging; 4 to 5 percent in building and construction; and 3 to 5 percent in industrial gas turbine markets.

Alcoa was originally founded in 1888 in Pittsburgh as the Pittsburgh Reduction Company, producing aluminum. In 1907 it was re-named Aluminum Company of America and officially became Alcoa in 1999. 

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