There was a 'secret plan' to close Lockheed Martin's Syracuse site

Oct 31, 2013

Lockheed Martin's radar and sensor facility just outside of Syracuse is safe for at least a year, but the company was close to closing it and relocating jobs, according to a news report.

The Post-Standard this morning cited unnamed sources and an internal document saying the defense contractor was in serious talks to shutter the facility in Salina and move the jobs there to other locations.

"A Lockheed Martin draft business plan reviewed by The Post-Standard confirmed that the company was considering a consolidation plan that would have closed the plant at Electronics Park in Syracuse's northern suburbs," the article says.

The plan was to be finalized in the next few weeks and it was only after pressure from Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) that they were scrapped. The senator spoke to Lockheed Martin CEO Maryllin Hewson on Tuesday, according to his spokeswoman, at which time the plans went from "definite to off the table," Meredith Kelly said.

Talk of closing the Syracuse facility seems to be part of a larger possible consolidation for Lockheed Martin, according to a statement from the company.

Lockheed Martin did not directly confirm the closure talks to The Innovation Trail, but spokesman Keith Little did say the factory will stay open for a year. He gave this statement in an email:

Given the current sequestration environment we have to look across our business and determine what actions are required to maintain our competitiveness and the health of our business. While we will continue to assess potential actions based on the potential negative impact of sequestration and other factors, we will not consider any plans that would impact the future of our Syracuse facility for at least the next year. We will continue to monitor the budget environment going forward and adjust our strategy accordingly, but the LM operations in Syracuse will continue at this time.

It was a close call for one of central New York's largest employers. The Syracuse facility employs about 1,600 people, but it has already been hit with two rounds of layoffs this year, the second going into affect next week.

Syracuse's loss would have been Owego's gain. Lockheed Martin also has a facility in the Southern Tier town. The Post-Standard says some of Syracuse's jobs, along with those from a maybe soon-to-be-closed plant in Ohio would have gone to Owego.