Political Jabs Won’t Aid Ormet

Recriminations traded by politicians will do nothing to help the about 1,000 workers who have lost their jobs at the Ormet Corp. They will be of no assistance to the local economy, especially that in Monroe County, that will be hit hard by the aluminum plant’s closure.

Yet this week, after Ormet announced it will close its plant at Hannibal, the blame game was in full swing. Two East Ohio legislators blamed Gov. John Kasich for not doing enough to save Ormet. In turn, a Kasich aide said the state has done much for Ormet – but West Virginia, where many of the plant’s workers live, has done nothing.

Of course, it is unlikely West Virginia officials could find any way to legally assist a plant in another state.

Ormet is closed for two reasons. First, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio did not approve electricity rates sought by the company. Second, the price of aluminum has plunged during the past year or so. A year ago, it was selling for more than $2,100 a ton. The price this week was just $1,795.50 per ton.

It may be that Ormet simply cannot survive what is a tough time for many aluminum producers throughout the world. Instead of trading verbal blows, politicians should be ascertaining if there is anything that can be done for the company – and that failing, for laid-off workers and their communities.