Gov criticized over layoffs at Ohio aluminum plant

By By JULIE CARR SMYTH

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — What was once the largest private employer in its region is now Ohio's largest industrial layoff of the year.

Republican Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sik) is facing criticism over the indefinite shuttering of Ormet Corp., an aluminum smelting giant along the Ohio River and the onetime largest customer of American Electric Power. About 1,000 workers — mostly unionized steelworkers — are out of work.

State utility regulators recently rejected key portions of Ormet's proposal for dealing with hefty electric costs as it struggles against bankruptcy.

The company and its union fault Kasich for not intervening passionately enough in Ormet's case before the Public Utilities Commission. Governors appoint the board, but it acts independently.

Other observers say Ormet was doomed by the economic realities of huge power requirements and historically low metal prices.

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