A pledge of new investment from its parent company and news of a newly secured military contract have workers at Remington Arms a little more optimistic their jobs will be staying in upstate New York.
Fears that Remington would uproot the factory that's been located in the Mohawk Valley for nearly 200 years heightened over recent months when at least five states invited the gun maker to relocate following New York state's passage of new gun control measures in January.
But late last week there were two signs of good news for the more than 1,200 workers at the Ilion plant. First, a handful of Mohawk Valley lawmakers met with representatives from Remington's parent company, Freedom Group, and secured a pledge for a $20 million investment in the factory.
Marc Butler, an area Republican Assemblyman, said the following in a statement:
Our meeting with Remington officials was very positive and we were able to lay the groundwork for further discussions on how we can work to ensure Remington’s presence in the Mohawk Valley far into the future. Remington is the foundation of our local economy and we made it absolutely clear that we will work with them, help them to stay, and hopefully, help them to grow.
Then on Friday, Rep. Richard Hanna (R-Barneveld) announced a military contract for Remington worth nearly $80 million. Remington will produce sniper rifles for the Defense Department for the next decade.
That news offers Frank "Rusty" Brown a "glimmer of hope" that Remington will remain put. Brown is the political coordinator for the union representing workers at the plant.
"We’re pretty optimistic. You know, it’s starting to look better and better," he said Monday. "I’m sure we have other irons in the fire of other contracts because we’re very busy."
Brown says a new facility in Ilion would be a true testament to Freedom Group's intentions to keep Remington in New York.
Remington Arms makes several lines of rifles, including some now labeled assault weapons under New York's new gun laws. The plant opened in 1816.