Many employees have been told it was their last day on the job.
One retiree said he feels worse for the younger workers just starting out.
"They'll have to give up a lot," said Vincent Dalessio of Sardis. "They're in the midst of buying homes and starting families. This will be devastating."
The retirees met in the union hall in Clarington.
They recalled when there was nothing but anger and antagonism between management and workers.
They say these days, everybody's on the same team.
And they think that team may still have a future.
"Yes, I look for it to start up again if they can get power where they can make a profit," said Larry Highley, president of the Retirees Club. "I'm sure they will start up again."
They say the plant is being shut down in such a way that it can be re-started again.
"I'm pretty sure it's going to re-open," says Tom Welsch of Glen Dale. "My understanding is that the Wayzata Group is a very intelligent investment group and they wouldn't have invested this much money in us if they weren't optimistic about making their money back and then some."
"We're pretty resilient," noted Bill Brown of New Martinsville. "We're an old smelter, you know, but we make good metal."
They all agree it will take two things--lower energy prices and better metals prices.