"I think they conducted themselves with strength and courage to protect the wishes of their members," said Matheney, a Jackson County resident. "A work stoppage is tough on everyone."
Many business and political leaders believe the full reopening of the plant, on the shores of the Ohio River, will have major positive impacts on the economies of Jackson County and the rest of the state.
A significant part of the high-quality aluminum produced at the plant is used by the aerospace industry to build aircraft.
Christophe Villemin, president of Constellium's Global Aerospace, Transportation and Industry Division, said the new contract "strongly positions Ravenswood for growth in core customer markets -- particularly among our global aerospace customers. We look forward to working with all of our key stakeholders as we strengthen our operations and build a sustainable future for Ravenswood."
Villemin and Lorentzen praised efforts by Tomblin, Rockefeller and Manchin to help bring the seven-week walkout to a conclusion.
They also praised Gerard and Steelworkers International Vice President Tom Conway, as well as the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, which participated in meetings with both sides of the contract dispute in Charleston.
Headquartered in Paris, Constellium has 9,500 employees in 26 countries, as well as a market presence in more than 60 countries.
Apollo Global Management owns 51 percent of Constellium, while Rio Tinto and Fonds Stratégique d'Investissement own 39 percent and 10 percent, respectively.
Kaiser Aluminum and Chemical Corp. opened the Jackson County aluminum smelting and rolling complex back in 1958, operated it until 1989, then sold it to Ravenswood Aluminum.
When Ravenswood Aluminum later sold the facility, it was split in two. Alcan Rolled Products operated one plant, while Century Aluminum operated the other. Constellium bought the Alcan plant in May 2011.
Century Aluminum closed its Ravenswood plant in February 2009, when aluminum prices were falling. Today, Century executives are trying to reopen the plant at a time when aluminum prices are on the rise.
Century Aluminum hopes to win approval from the West Virginia Public Service Commission for breaks in its electricity rates to help it reopen its operations. The PSC likely will rule on the matter this month.
Reach Paul J. Nyden at pjny...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-5164.