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Mohawk Valley Nine Call On State to Develop Incentive Package to Keep Remington Arms in Ilion

December 9, 2020 – Today, the Mohawk Valley Nine, a bipartisan coalition of state legislators representing Herkimer, Madison and Oneida counties, urged Governor Cuomo to develop an incentive package, beginning with an “essential business” designation, to keep Remington Arms at home in Ilion, New York.

The Mohawk Valley Nine met this week with Herkimer County Chairman Jim Bono, Herkimer County Administrator Jim Wallace, Executive Director of Herkimer County Industrial Development Agency John J. Piseck, Jr. and Empire State Development Regional Director Mike Reese to discuss solutions and strategies around the ongoing difficulties facing Remington Arms.  Following the meeting, the legislators drafted a letter requesting the state designate Remington Arms as an “essential business” so manufacturing could continue at the plant in the event of another COVID-related statewide shutdown.

Roundhill Group, LLC., the new owners of the heritage manufacturer, are preparing to reopen the Remington Arms facility in Ilion and rehire local workers.  To move forward with confidence, the new owners have repeatedly expressed the need for an essential business designation from New York State, to ensure firearms manufacturing would not be halted due to a rise in COVID cases.  Other states have ensured similar protections that would allow production to continue despite statewide stay-at-home orders.

“For over 200 years, Remington Arms has been a strong force and partner in the Mohawk Valley and our country. Generations of workers have been employed by the company which has provided community members with good jobs and benefits and with an enormous wealth of knowledge and passion for the work that they do. New York State must do all it can to support Remington Arms employees by playing an active role to ensure the success of the Mohawk Valley through an incentive package that keeps the company in Ilion, New York,” Assemblywoman Marianne Buttenschon (D,I-Utica/Rome) stated.

Senator James L. Seward (R, C, IP, RFM) said, “New York State needs to affirm its commitment to Remington Arms and the first show of support should be an essential business designation.  The new owners of the 200 year old company are prepared to take all necessary steps to protect the health and well-being of their workers, and it is vital that they in turn have assurances that the state will work with them and guarantee that the factory doors will remain open.”

“Remington Arms is a long-standing, world-renowned business that has been an integral part of the Mohawk Valley economy for generations. We must do everything possible to protect and safeguard the livelihoods of the company’s employees and their families and will advocate strongly for economic incentives from the state that will help to sustain and grow the company in the future,” State Senator Joseph Griffo (R,I,C-Rome) said.

“Remington Arms is an important employer in Herkimer County for many residents. It’s vital to our local economy that we keep Remington Arms in Herkimer County so they can continue to provide good-paying jobs for local residents,” said Senator Jim Tedisco (R,C,I-Glenville).

“After meeting with my fellow legislators and local leaders, I feel it is imperative that Remington Arms receive an ‘essential business’ designation. Remington Arms is a well-known job creator in Ilion, New York, that plans to re-open shortly. In the event of additional shutdown orders, Remington Arms would be able to remain open with an ‘essential business’ designation and North Country and the Mohawk Valley workers could continue to make a living for their families. Without the designation of an ‘essential business,’ Ilion is in danger of losing the arms manufacturer to another state that will allow this business to operate within its borders,” said Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River).

“As so many businesses have demonstrated and, in fact, so has the state as an employer itself, our economy can move forward safely when precautions are taken. No one understands the concerns of COVID-19 more so than myself, and as a lifelong New Yorker I also know the huge impact Remington Arms has had on our economy and in providing good jobs for many decades —this is not a time when we can afford to lose these jobs. This is essential to our community, and I encourage the governor to make sure Remington Arms is considered an essential business to protect this workforce as we move forward through the pandemic and the company continues its transition with the Roundhill Group,” Assemblyman Brian Miller (R,I,C,Ref-New Hartford) stated.

“We must not miss this moment in time to do all that we can as a State to retain Remington Arms here in the Mohawk Valley.  The best workers in this industry are right here, and they need our help right now.  They are clearly an essential business to Herkimer County, the State of New York, and these great United States,” Assemblyman Robert J. Smullen (R,C,Ref-Meco) said.

“The Remington Arms workforce is second to none and it is vital that we help get these true professionals back to work in Ilion.  As a small business owner, I can safely say that the Roundhill Group is striving for some degree of predictability as they plan to reopen in Ilion – that’s exactly what the essential business designation would provide.  New York State can exhibit support for upstate economic development, a historic Mohawk Valley manufacturer, and hundreds of working families by taking this action,” Senator-elect Peter Oberacker Jr. (R,C,I-Schenevus) said.

The full text of the letter is pasted below:

December 9, 2020

Hon. Andrew M. Cuomo

Governor, State of New York

Executive Chamber, State Capitol

Albany, NY 12248

Dear Governor Cuomo:

We are writing to urge you and your administration to take prompt action to save the livelihoods of hundreds of New Yorkers in the Mohawk Valley by working with Roundhill Group, LLC, who recently purchased Remington Arms through bankruptcy court.  The new company is seeking an incentive package to remain in Upstate New York and it is imperative that the state act swiftly.

Remington Arms has been a major employer in Herkimer County for over 200 years.  Generations of workers have built the heritage company into a world-renowned firearms manufacturer.  The workforce is second to none and the well-paying jobs with benefits are a key to our regional economy.  A number of other businesses are dependent on Remington’s success and our local and state governments benefit greatly from the tax revenue generated.

As Roundhill Group, LLC plans for the future, it is crucial that New York State take steps to help the company succeed and grow.  The first, and most critical, action is to designate Remington an essential business.  As the company prepares to bring hundreds of employees back to work, it is imperative that they have peace of mind and knowledge that they will not face a closure should COVID-19 cases rise.  This designation comes at no cost to the state and demonstrates a true commitment to the company.  Rest assured, the health and well-being of Remington employees is paramount and Roundhill Group owners are intent on following all necessary health and safety guidelines.

Hundreds of employees and their families are currently without stable incomes and benefits such as health insurance in the middle of a pandemic due to Remington’s closure.  These individuals, through no fault of their own, face great uncertainty and are simply looking for some stability.  We now have the opportunity and the obligation to help restore these jobs, aid families in crisis, and reinvigorate an entire region by working with Roundhill Group to restart manufacturing operations.

We respectfully ask that you consider this request and certify Remington Arms as an essential business making it clear to Roundhill Group that New York stands behind these workers and the Mohawk Valley.

Sincerely,

Marianne Buttenschon

Co-Chair, Mohawk Valley Nine

Assemblymember, 119th District

 

 

Robert J. Smullen

Assemblymember, 118th District

 

John J. Salka

Assemblymember, 121st District

 

Brian D. Miller

Assemblymember, 101st District

 

Kenneth D. Blankenbush

Assemblymember, 117th District

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