RAVENSWOOD, W.Va. — A representative of the Century Aluminum retirees who spent Monday picketing outside of the Jackson County facility said those retirees were at the plant’s Ravenswood entrance with a message.

“We are still out here uninsured and Century still has not stepped up to the plate and we, certainly, have not given up,” said Karen Gorrell.

Her husband worked at the Century Aluminum plant for three decades before it closed in 2009.  She and the other retirees and their families later reached a settlement agreement with the company on health care benefits which will only be restored when operations begin again at the plant.

The company had originally targeted the fall of 2012 for the restart — pending the outcomes of separate deals with other entities , including lawmakers and the state Public Service Commission — but, two years later, Century’s future is still unclear.

Michael Bless, Century president and chief executive officer, did address the Jackson County facility in a February statement about the company’s earnings.  That report showed a $40 million loss for the company in 2013.

“We remain absolutely and resolutely committed to reopening our smelter at Ravenswood, West Virginia and are working hard on a number of processes to this end,” Bless said at that time.

But, Gorrell said, such promises are no longer good enough.

“I think it’s about time the state says, ‘Look, we’re putting a deadline on these deals.  We’re going to put a deadline on the legislation.  We’re going to put a final date and, if you don’t act within that period of time, this is all off the table,'” she said.

“And Century ought to have to start it up, sell it or shut it down and clean it up.”

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  • Brian

    Thank goodness for Obamacare! LOL! I do feel bad for the workers who always get dumped by mgt, union & corporate cronies. I think they should start their own company and put their former employer out of business.

  • Kelly

    Preaching to the choir lady.

    What makes you and your union peers any more special.

    You did not save enough during your working years. Look in a mirror to find the source of lack of responsibility.

  • David

    WV's are not heavily recruited by out of state companies, no more so than the residents of any other state.

    The reason for not using gas is because the plants that supply their electricity are not using gas but rather coal and a retrofit is not economically unfeasible, are you going to pay to have your automobile converted to gas when the propane gas costs roughly the same as petroleum gas? Um no!

  • Ut Oh

    Call Obama he has an "affordable" healthcare you can join. Heck your with the union has he not already exempted you guys? And to answer ViennaGuy, simple they already have all the money they can get from your lifetime of dues and they have moved on to the next poor sole!

  • ViennaGuy

    My question is this: Why hasn't the United Steelworkers gone to bat for these guys? Were the retirement benefits included in the contract or not? I have been asking this question in numerous forums and nobody will give me an answer.

  • WV Patriot

    What I understand the main reason for not reopening the plant is a reduction in their electricity bills from AEP. Why can't the plant convert to natural gas, be profitable and be reopened utilizing the most productive employees in United States thereby for filling the promises/contracts to all those effected by the closure of this plant???? Justice can get millions in tax breaks affords by our legislature for the Greenbrier for the rich, why not some tax breaks for the Smelter thereby utilizing natural gas from West Virginia where everyone benefits resulting in THOUSANDS of jobs saved/created. Making these simple decisions can make the Ravenwood Smelter king of aluminum products as it once was cause West Virginia workers are some if the most competitive productive workers in the world in one place. Ever wonder why West Virginians are highly recruited by out of state employers.?

    • ViennaGuy

      - Why can't the plant convert to natural gas -

      It's probably not that simple. The plant bought its power from AEP, which means it doesn't have its own on-site generation unit - or if it does, the generation unit is obsolete and would require millions of dollars to get it running again and convert it to natural gas, to say nothing of meeting current environmental rules. Aside from that, can enough gas be piped into the facility to run such a generation unit?

  • Low Rider

    Century Aluminum will not re-open. The union members should just enroll in the insurance plan of their "exalted one".

  • Leroy j Gibbs


  • Millions of other people

    We are too.

  • ed bush

    Shelly will help you like she has pledged when the placed closed Just like she said she was supporting Insurance for everyone