At Remington Arms in Ilion, the rumor mill is churning constantly.
“If you talk to people who have been here for awhile, the rumor mill is always here — it’s been here for 40 years,” said Jamie Rudwall, president of the United Mine Workers of America Local 717 that represents the company’s 1,250-plus workers.
This year’s rumors have been that the company could be leaving the state following the passage of the SAFE Act in January, which made New York the first state to outline a stricter definition of assault weapons.
As for recent rumors that the plant could be relocated to Nashville, Tenn., Rudwall pointed to an announcement made at the Ilion plant within the past two weeks — that Remington’s parent company, Freedom Group, Inc., bought a pistol-making company in Tennessee.
“I would imagine that’s kind of why those rumors were being speculated,” Rudwall said.
Rudwall said responding to the rumors is a challenge because the union is “not in negotiations with other states or any other competing interests.”
But even before the SAFE Act, other states were courting Remington, he said, and workers have learned to take the speculation “with a grain of salt.”
“I always think that our workforce would trump that, mainly because we’re already trained. We’ve been trained for generations,” he said.