State legislators representing the Mohawk Valley met Wednesday with representatives of Remington Arms to discuss the company’s continued future in Ilion.
The meeting came days after more than 50 Remington employees joined thousands of others to protest the Secure Ammunition and Firearms Act in Albany, a law that contains a stricter definition of assault weapons and bans magazines that contain more than seven rounds. It also requires those who own weapons classified as assault weapons to register them.
The lawmakers said Wednesday’s meeting was an opportunity to express their support for Remington and its employees, and to discuss prospects for future growth.
They also said they were encouraged to learn Remington is making a $20 million investment in upgrades at the Ilion plant, and added the company vowed to work with local colleges to develop a training program to meet the need for new, skilled workers.
“Remington Arms and the 1,300 outstanding and loyal workers who make up the 200 year old company’s workforce symbolize the Mohawk Valley. The region’s future success is closely tied to Remington’s ability to thrive. New York state has partnered with Remington in the past, and I pledged to do everything in my power to ensure that partnership is maintained,” said state Senator James Seward, R – Oneonta.
“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,” said Assemblyman Marc Butler, R – Newport.
Assemblywoman Claudia Tenney, R – New Hartford, said she is “dedicated to working with Remington officials to preserve and to ultimately grow its workforce in Herkimer County” and Assemblyman Anthony Brindisi, D – Utica, said he was able to affirm his “very strong support” for the company during Wednesday’s meeting.
“I have heard from many constituents in recent months how important this company is to them, and I will continue to take this message to legislative leaders in Albany,” he said.
With state officials from Michigan, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Arizona and Texas reaching out to Remington about a possible relocation in the wake of the passage of the SAFE Act, state Senator Joseph Griffo, R – Rome, said the legislators are focused on keeping the company in Herkimer County. “Manufacturing in this state is not an easy enterprise. We need continued attention in keeping a business and regulatory environment that allows them to survive and thrive in New York,” he said.
“It is crucial that we work to support this important employer and retain these jobs which are essential to the region,” added state Senator Hugh Farley, R – Schenectady.
Page 2 of 2 - Otto Weigl, senior vice president of government and legislative affairs, Jonathan Sprole, general counsel, and Paul Merz, plant manager, represented Remington at the meeting.
All six of the legislators who met with Remington voted against the SAFE Act.
Founded in 1816, Remington Arms is one of the nation’s oldest continuously operating manufacturers and of the largest domestic producers of shotguns and rifles. Employees at the Ilion plant earn salaries that average in excess of $42,000 annually, plus benefits.