Pechiney Rolled Products LLC of Ravenswood, the former Kaiser Aluminum plant, will lay off 200 employees by the end of the year. The largest employer in Jackson County, has a number of employees from Calhoun, Wirt and Roane County.

The layoffs confirm speculation about problems with the operation. Some employees have told The Hur Herald they expect the operation to be shut down and moved abroad.

The cuts follow a $9 million restructuring plan aimed at making the plant more profitable. "We are not in a profitable situation," said VP of Operations, Todd Ritchie.

The 17% cut comes from a workforce of more than 1,100 employees. The company employees about 35,000 people worldwide.

The loss adds to about 5,000 jobs which have been eliminated in the region in the past 24 months, many of them to globalization and trade agreements like GATT and NAFTA. An auto parts plant which employed 200-300 people, recently closed in Jackson County and moved to Mexico.

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