County: Kasich Needs To ‘Step Up’ on Ormet

WOODSFIELD – Ohio Gov. John Kasich needs to “step up to the plate” and assist the more than 1,000 workers laid off at Ormet, Monroe County Commission President John Pyles said.

Ormet is scheduled to finish its shut down at some point this week, leaving workers without a job and Monroe County’s economy in disarray. Pyles claims Kasich didn’t do enough to keep the facility open, and now the governor needs to “step up on this issue … so these people will have decent jobs to go to.”

Ormet announced Friday it is closing the aluminum plant following last week’s order from the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio that lowered the company’s electric rate from $60 to $50 per megawatt-hour. The company said it needs a rate of $45.89 per megawatt-hour to continue operating.

Those losing their jobs could get some help starting today, as Pyles said he received a call from Nick Gatz, the governor’s liaison for Southeastern Ohio, about setting up a meeting with officials from various government levels.

Ohio Department of Job and Family Services representatives are scheduled to meet with members of the Monroe County Commission at noon today to discuss funding issues in the wake of Ormet’s closure.

Pyles also said assistance centers will be set up at two spots in the county to help displaced workers: the United Steelworkers headquarters in Clarington and the Department of Job and Family Services in Woodsfield.

“We will make every effort that we can to help these people transition and possibly train for new jobs,” he said.

Meanwhile, officials with the United Steelworkers on Tuesday asked Kasich to urge Ormet, PUCO and American Electric Power to negotiate a compromise in an effort to save at least some of the lost jobs. Representatives from Kasich’s office reiterated the state wants Ormet to succeed and previously has given it a more than $300 million subsidy.